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HOSPITAL BOOZE ADMISSIONS UP

PUBLISHED: 15:11 11 April 2008 | UPDATED: 08:55 21 July 2010

The number of boozy patients treated in casualty has doubled since round-the-clock drinking was introduced. The binge-drinking emergencies at Homerton s Accident & Emergency department jumped from 494 to 1,037...

The number of boozy patients treated in casualty has doubled since round-the-clock drinking was introduced.

The binge-drinking emergencies at Homerton's Accident & Emergency department jumped from 494 to 1,037.

The leap is one of the biggest in the capital and has sparked fears problem drinking is spiraling out of control.

Alcohol advice experts have now warned the health "ticking-time bomb is ticking more loudly."

Mark Hilton is the head of operations at the City & Hackney Alcohol Service in Westgate Street, Broadway Market.

He said: "Problem drinking has been increasing at a horrendous and accelerating rate since at least the mid nineties.

"It is obvious to the whole nation that our drinking habits are out of control. Drinking ruins the lives of many more people than drugs.

"It is time the government put an equivalent level of funding into treating the victims of both addictions."

Mr Hilton said the service has "never been under more pressure" and is looking to expand capacity.

In 2005, before the licensing law was changed, there were 494 booze-related visits to the Homerton. But last year, the figure had jumped to 1,037 - a rise of more than 100 per cent.

Across London, the number of casualty visits triggered by heavy drinking jumped by around a third.

A spokeswoman for the Homerton said the increase was down to "organisational and social factors."

She said: "Not least of these is a much higher awareness, and as a result recording, of alcohol as a secondary issue related to other presenting illnesses."

The hospital offers counselling and guidance to people with alcohol problems, she added.

The City & Hackney Alcohol Service also offers free advice to people with alcohol problems.

Call 020 8525 1313 to arrange an appointment with an advisor.


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