Norfolk’s drinkers leave NHS with a £43m bill

PUBLISHED: 08:56 15 October 2012 | UPDATED: 14:34 17 October 2012

Rosalie Weetman from The Matthew Project. Photo: Bill Smith.

Rosalie Weetman from The Matthew Project. Photo: Bill Smith.

Archant © 2012

Norfolk’s drinkers left the NHS with a £43m bill last year, figures released by an alcohol charity reveal.

In 2010/11 there were 105,565 hospital admissions caused by alcohol in the county, racking up healthcare costs of £43.1m.

Chloe Smith, MP for Norwich North has expressed her deep concern over the number of hospital admissions.

Ms Smith, pictured, who has campaigned for responsible drinking in the city centre and minimum alcohol pricing said: “These figures are very alarming and too high.

“Every number is a person, perhaps with a family, who needs help.

“However, it is clear that £43.1m in Norfolk could be better spent on health services. A drink on a night out should not end in a trip to hospital.”

The number of admissions to accident and emergency was 61,297, which came at a cost of £7m.

Drinkers needing treatment came from across the age groups.

The figures from charity Alcohol Concern also showed that 14pc of people in Norfolk were damaging their health by drinking too much.

And in 2009, 252 people died in the county from illnesses caused by alcohol.

Rosalie Weetman, CEO of the Matthew Project on Pottergate, in Norwich, which helps alcoholics said: “Problematic alcohol use covers a wide range of issues: from binge drinking – which can lead to violence and anti-social behaviour, as well as being a factor in many A&E admissions – to dependent drinkers, for whom persistent alcohol use and abuse has become a normal part of daily life.”

The Matthew Project helps get drinkers to quit alcohol through an eight-week group at their offices in Pottergate.

Next year, a new service called the Norfolk Recovery Partnership, formed by The Matthew Project, the NHS Trust Alcohol and Drug Service and the Rehabilitation of Addicted Prisoners Trust, will attempt to cut the cost of alcohol misuse through therapy, group work, and substitute prescription.

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