THE number of Sunderland patients rushed to A&E because they are suffering from alcohol-related liver disease is double the national average, new figures show.
New figures, released by the Health and Social Care Information Centre (HSCIC) show that 50 out of every 100,000 adults in the city are admitted to emergency wards because they have the illness.
The national average is 24 in every 100,000.
Sunderland compares unfavourably with North Durham, in which only 10 in every 100,000 of those over 18 have had to be admitted.
Bolton, North Manchester and Leeds South and East clinical commissioning groups were just a few of those with higher rates than Sunderland, according to records from between April 2013 and March this year.
An interactive map released as part of the report shows that the highest areas of prevalence are the North East and North West, with southern areas having lower instances of admissions.
Balance, the North East alcohol office which is campaigning for a minimum unit price, say that unless the measure is brought in, the situation in our area will continue to be worse than others.
Colin Shevills, director of Balance, said: “Public sector services, both here in the North East and across the country, are tackling the symptoms of alcohol misuse – what we need to do is get to the root of the cause.
“The fact is that too many people are drinking too much too often.
“This is driven by alcohol that is too cheap, too widely available and too heavily marketed – the regime around alcohol needs to change.
“We live in a society where you can buy your daily recommended alcohol intake for less than a pint of milk, where alcohol is available 24/7 and can be bought in soft play areas and round the clock in petrol stations and where we have an alcohol industry that spends around £800million a year on marketing, bombarding us with pro alcohol messages.
“It’s no wonder that we are paying the consequences.”
Councillor John Kelly, portfolio holder for public health, culture and wellness, said: “Excessive alcohol use is a regional and national issue that the city council and its public health partners are working together to address.
“This includes a range of approaches across Sunderland and the wider region to support people to tackle alcohol misuse.”
HSCIC chairman Kingsley Manning said: “This map paints a powerful picture of one of the many impacts that alcohol has on patients and the NHS in this country.
“This one image depicts what the hundreds of rows of data published today mean for different areas of England.
“While many will be familiar with the HSCIC’s annual alcohol statistics, fewer people may be aware we also publish a myriad of different health and social care indicators about different conditions and care on a regular basis.
“The data we have presented today about alcohol related liver disease is the first such provisional data for 2013/14 to be published at such a local level.
“It should act as basis to help the NHS commission services effectively.”
l Comment – Page 32