Cost to alcohol misuse in Wales hits £70m a year

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54,000 hospital admissions between 2002 and 2006 attributed to alcohol
54,000 hospital admissions between 2002 and 2006 attributed to alcohol

Excess drinking is costing the NHS in Wales an estimated  £70m a year, according to a new report.

The Swansea University study, commissioned by the assembly government, put the cost of excessive alcohol consumption to the NHS in Wales at between  £69.9m and  £73.3m.

This works out at between  £23.47 and  £24.60  per person for alcohol and between 1.27% and 1.33% of total healthcare expenditure.

The study looked at factors such as hospital admissions, GP consultations and prescription costs attributable to both alcohol misuse and obesity.

It found that an estimated 1,050 deaths are attributable to alcohol each year in Wales, with drink a factor in more than 1 in 25 male deaths.

Approximately 1.5% of all adult hospital admissions between 2002 and 2006 can be attributed to alcohol, with 33,200 hospital admissions in men and 20,800 in women each year attributable to alcohol.

On top of the conditions directly related to alcohol misuse, there are also a number of conditions not directly related, but attributable to alcohol misuse.

Approximately five per cent of all admissions to hospital in Wales between 2002 and 2006 were for alcohol attributable conditions, the study found.

Approximately 45% of the population in Wales drink to excess, with 24% reporting binge drinking, it concluded.