Figures have revealed that the rate of admissions to hospitals for alcohol-related liver disease is increasing in Bradford.
The rate of emergency admissions in the Bradford Districts Clinic Commissioning Group (CCG) area has risen from 27.6 per 100,000 GP registered patients to 30.3 at the end of March. The figures relate to patients aged 18 or over, and cover the areas of Bingley, Shipley, Heaton, and Tong.
In the Airedale, Wharfdale, and Craven CCG area, which also includes Keighley, Ilkley, and Skipton, the rate increased from 21.1 to 27.2 per 100,000 patients.
The Bradford City CCG area, which covers the city centre, saw rates fall from 35.6 to 26.5 per 100,000 patients.
The figures relate to 76 patients observed in the Districts CCG; 33 in the Airdale, Wharfedale and Craven CCG; and 20 in the City CCG.
In the Bradford District, the figures are above the national average for England, which stood at 24.1 per 100,000 patients, but below the average for West Yorkshire, which stood at 35.3 per 100,000 patients at the end of March—the fifth worst rate in England.
The cost of alcohol-related diseases is significant to the NHS. In Bradford alone it was estimated in 2012 that the total cost of alcohol-related treatment stood at £35m. This figure included £6.7m in A&E attendances, and £7m in outpatients appointments. In total this equated to £88 per adult.
Furthermore, the figures also showed that 138 people died from alcohol-related causes. Of which, 60 deaths were due to chronic liver disease. Forty different medical conditions are attributed to excessive drinking including cancer, stroke, hypertension, liver and heart disease.
Figures from Bradford Metropolitan District Council earlier this year revealed that up to 92,000 people across the district could be drinking at “hazardous” levels. Dr Paul Southern, a consultant hepatologist at Bradford Royal Infirmary, previously stated that there was a worrying rise in the number of cases of liver cancer caused by excessive alcohol consumption.
Southern said: “We are seeing more cases of liver cancer than we used to and there is a direct relationship with alcohol.
“It’s recognised as one of the commonest causes of liver cirrhosis – 93 per cent of liver cancer cases are associated with it, so alcohol is a clear risk factor.
“People have to be responsible for themselves. It’s not just a huge financial cost to hospitals, care services and the Bradford economy – it’s a personal cost too.”
More than 40,000 patients underwent screenings for alcohol problems across the Bradford District in 2012/13. A total of 11,410 received treatment for alcohol-related conditions or incidents.
Hilary McMullen, substance misuse commissioning manager at Bradford Council said: “We have invested in Alcohol Care Teams at both Bradford Royal Infirmary (BRI) and Airedale General Hospital, the latter coming online in the last two years.
“Patients who are admitted to hospital with an alcohol-related health problem are now being identified earlier on in their admission and referred to the Alcohol Care Team to receive the help and advice they require to address their alcohol use.”
According to the latest data from the Health and Social Care Information Centre, hospitals across England admitted 10,500 cases of alcohol-related liver disease between April 2013 and March 2014. This equates to more than 200 admissions every week.
Greater Manchester recorded the highest rate of emergency admissions, with 45.3 per 100,000 patients. Bath, Gloucestershire, Swindon, and Wiltshire had the lowest rate at 14.7 admissions per 100,000 patients.