'We can't pinpoint why so many are attending hospital for alcohol related issues' says Doncaster health boss
Doncaster Council’s top health boss has admitted he cannot pinpoint why the borough has a high number of alcohol related visits to hospital.
Director of public health Dr Rupert Suckling made the admission after a report showed there were 2,300 incidents where people had to attend hospital for alcohol related issues.
He said it could be down to Doncaster having a ‘longer history’ of drinking and added the main population that are drinking alcohol is ‘getting older’.
Dr Suckling also said people with drinking problems in Doncaster are not as likely to access support services compared to those with drug addiction.
The council and health partners are said to be looking at support alternatives and added the problem of alcohol dependency was prevalent across all classes.
But Dr Suckling said residents on lower incomes were more likely to attend hospital for alcohol related issues.
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Health bosses already work closely with licensing officers to try and get cheap, high-strength alcohol off the shelves from shops.
“The main population that are drinking alcohol is getting older and the cumulative impact and with people getting frailer it is having a bigger knock on effect,” Dr Suckling said.
“We found that many people with alcohol dependency don’t like using dedicated services to help them and they don’t see themselves as having a substance misuse problem in the same way as someone with a drug problem.
“The minimum pricing per unit debate in England will have little effect on the middle to upper classes because they are already spending 50 pence a unit on their wine or spirits. It’s the very high percentage ciders like the White Lightening we’re trying to get off the shelves.
“We actually don’t know why the figure is so high - we maybe have a longer history with drinking in Doncaster compared to other places along with an emphasis on the night time economy or we previously had but we can’t pinpoint it.”