Four young people treated every day for alcohol-related admissions at Sunderland Royal Hospital

Dr Kate Lambert, consultant in Emergency Medicine at Sunderland Royal Hospital.
Dr Kate Lambert, consultant in Emergency Medicine at Sunderland Royal Hospital.
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ALCOHOL-RELATED admissions to A&E among young people on Wearside are falling – despite four under 25s attending for treatment every day.

The Emergency Department at Sunderland Royal Hospital is currently seeing a reduction in booze-related attendances among the city’s young adults – but health bosses admit much more still needs to be done.

Figures obtained by the Echo reveal there were 1,436 admissions of under-25s in 2013, down from 1,569 in 2012. While the first quarter of 2014 has seen a 30 per cent reduction with 275 attendances compared to 392 in the same period last year. The fall appears to follow a national and international trend, which suggests declining numbers of alcohol-related assaults.

Evidence from around the UK suggests these type of attacks have fallen by 12 per cent.

Dr Kate Lambert, an emergency consultant at the hospital, said: “This is good news and seems to fit with our figures but we have some more work to do to understand the decrease in alcohol related attendances that we are seeing in Sunderland.

“In general, young men show more risk-taking behaviours than women and they still account for the majority of attendances, with women making up 30-40 per cent of the attendances locally.

“This percentage is similar to the figure we got in 2008 when we first started recording these attendances.”

“Men and women can be equally as aggressive and unpleasant to Emergency Department (ED) staff when drunk.”

Ms Lambert also said efforts were underway to share information about the types of assaults people attending the department are suffering from. She added: “Sexual assault can happen to anyone but is more common for women.

“Women are also the main victims of domestic violence. We are looking at ways that we can encourage people to be open with us if domestic violence is a cause for their injury.

“We collect information on all assaults and share information about the numbers of assaults and the place that it happened with the local council.”

Ms Lambert believes young people often overestimate the amount of alcohol they are able to safely consume.

She added: “The amount we can safely drink without harming ourselves is much less that most people think.

“Women need to be particularly careful to look at their weekly intake, work out their units, look at the risks so that they are making an informed decision about when, where and how much they choose to drink.

“If you understand the risks and make sure that the pleasure you get from every drink is worth it, it is possible to drink less but still have a really good time.

“Maybe younger people are working this out and that is part of the reason why we are seeing fewer alcohol-related attendances in this group.”