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News – A&E cases rise as drinking hours grow

January 2008

A&E cases rise as drinking hours grow

The Government’s policy on 24-hour alcohol licensing has been a mistake, says a new academic report. The Nuffield Council on Bioethics says tax on alcohol should be raised, and the legal hours for selling alcohol made shorter. Its report points out research showing that binge drinking can be reduced when the availability of alcohol is restricted.

The report’s publication coincides with the formation of a 22-strong group of health organisations which will lobby for a 10% increase in alcohol tax to combat binge drinking and news that Accident and Emergency (A&E) departments in London have seen alcohol-related admissions soar since all-day drinking laws were introduced.

In the year that 24-hour drinking rules began to operate, there were 16% more admissions, leading some to blame the extended licensing hours for the increase.

The figures were obtained by the London Assembly Liberal Democrats. Spokesman Geoff Pope said: ‘Alcohol abuse is putting huge pressure on frontline NHS services. The huge rise in A&E admissions is just the tip of the iceberg’.

A Government review of 24-hour alcohol licensing is expected to report in the New Year says the Christian Institute.

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