MPs and stakeholders meet to discuss alcohol related hospital admissions

News item posted: 17 March 2017

A group of MPs, Peers and stakeholders met in Parliament on Wednesday to discuss the impact that alcohol and drug misuse is having on hospitals and on people's health, with a particular focus on people with complex needs.

They met as part of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Complex needs and Dual Diagnosis which was formed in 2007 to inform parliamentarians of the barriers faced by those with complex needs or a dual diagnosis.

The meeting was held in response to the increasing impact of substance misuse on hospital admissions and was Co-Chaired by Lord Victor Adebowale, Chief Executive of Turning Point and David Burrows, MP for Enfield, Southgate.

Recent data from Dr Foster Intelligence, outlined in their report 'My Hospital Guide 2013', showed that there were 415,000 drug and alcohol related emergency admissions in 2012/13 and that 9% of emergency hospital admissions overall are due to an adult with a drug or alcohol problem. Additionally, 22% of emergency drug and alcohol admissions in 2012/13 had no GP practice recorded.

Discussion among stakeholders at the meeting highlighted the impact of minimum pricing on this growing trend, the wider implications for the health service and as always the challenge of services not working together around the individual.

APPG Co-Chair Lord Victor Adebowale, Chief Executive of Turning Point, said;

"There has been a lot of coverage in the past year related to this topic and on waiting times within hospitals, particularly in A&E departments. Substance misuse impacts on people's lives in a number of different ways, including their family relationships, employment, offending and health. There are also financial implications. We know that alcohol related harm costs the NHS £3.5billion each year so this is an issue that we cannot afford not to tackle. We need to ensure people are getting the support they need in the community, as part of a system-wide response to this issue."

APPG Co-Chair David Burrowes MP said the time to act is now: "Alcohol misuse resonates across a variety of interests. This highlights the urgent need to get this on the political agenda, both at a local and national level."

Speaker Dr. Nick Sheron, a clinical hepatologist at the University of Southampton, who also runs the liver unit at Southampton General Hospital, spoke about the significant increase in patients suffering liver disease. Dr. Sheron also highlighted that there are no symptoms of liver disease so it is difficult to identify and catch early. Due to this he emphasised the importance of "understanding the causes if we're going to alter liver disease mortality".

Roger Taylor, Director of Research & Public Affairs at Dr Foster Intelligence added: "Worryingly we expect alcohol and drug misuse figures to slightly underestimate the actual amount of patients admitted to hospitals with such problems. This is because we only looked at cases {for the report} in instances where drugs or alcohol can be 100 per cent attributable to a hospital admission - we know many admissions are for instances where alcohol is a strong causal factor. This is why we need integrated care as hospitals don't have the resources to deal with these issues alone."

ENDS

Notes to editors

• Speakers at the event were Roger Taylor, Director of Research & Public Affairs at Dr Foster Intelligence; Dr Nick Sheron, Academic Clinical Hepatologist at the University of Southampton; Dr Graham Sanderson, Alcohol and Substance Misuse speciality lead at Bradford District CCG and Lorraine Hollis and Paul Bonallie from Turning Point's A&E service in Sunderland.

• The All Party Parliamentary Group on Complex needs and Dual Diagnosis was formed in 2007. It provides an opportunity for interested parliamentarians to discuss a range of issues which affect people with complex needs and to help formulate practical proposals. The group aims to meet on a quarterly basis and Turning Point acts as the secretariat.

• Turning Point is a social enterprise providing health and social care services for people with complex needs, including those affected by drug and alcohol misuse, mental health problems or those with a learning disability. For more information, please visit www.turning-point.co.uk