ALCOHOL HOSPITAL ADMISSIONS CLIMB 26%
The number of alcohol-related hospital admissions shot up by more than 26% since the introduction of 24-hour pub drinking [17 March 2008]. Over 162,000 people were taken into hospital after turning up at casualty departments with alcohol-related complaints last year, up from 128,000 admissions in 2005, the year before Labour’s liberalisation of drinking hours went into effect.
The increase was not referred to in the government’s recent review of the effect of the licensing law reforms. Instead, the review for Gordon Brown said that their impact on A&E departments had been “stable” overall. But the new figures – quietly made available to MPs in early March – suggest that demand at casualty departments is far from stable.
Rising health problems should now be added to the rising violence that ministers already admit has followed the new drink laws. The review of the licensing laws found that since the end of 2005 the number of serious violent crimes committed between 3.00am and 6.00am has risen by 25%.
The Department of Culture said that “A wide-ranging programme of work has begun across government to address alcohol-related harm and disorder”.