Alcohol abuse is a problem that costs the British economy billions of pounds every year. However, the Victoria Derbyshire programme believes that, if the NHS were to change the way it deals with alcoholic patients, it could save around £27 million every year.

With almost £3.8 billion spent by the taxpayer on alcohol-related issues each year, something needs to be done to change the way that these issues are dealt with.

It is estimated that a third of all A & E admissions are due to alcohol abuse. However, at the weekend that figure can rise to over two-thirds.

Wasting Money

Dr Chris Daly from the Chapman Barker Unit believes that the NHS focuses on treating the effects of alcohol abuse rather than addressing underlying issues, which just wastes the taxpayers’ money. He said, “We were very surprised that a significant proportion, maybe as much as 50% of the patients [that we see], were not open to any services and some of them had never been seen by alcohol services before, so it’s almost as if we’re dealing with a different sort of population.”

The Chapman Barker Unit deals with alcohol-related problems in a different way and takes patients straight from A & E departments across Manchester. Patients then receive treatment in the centre for a week.

Around three-quarters of patients who received treatment at Chapman Barker did not end up back in A & E for at least three months.

The centre sees patients as young as teenagers right up to some who are in their eighties, and both men and women receive treatment at the unit. Those who come to the unit for treatment will be given counselling and specialist medical care. The unit also offers support and therapy sessions.

Underlying Cause

Nurse Clare Hilton says that the patients that attend Chapman Barker tend to have serious problems with alcohol. Many of them will suffer from hallucinations, fits, and seizures when they try to give up alcohol. The carers, therefore, need to treat the physical symptoms but also the underlying cause of their addiction. She said, “It’s so important to us that we don’t judge them. They have walked in and said, ‘I don’t want to do this anymore’. We go, great, let’s sort it. What can we do to help you?”

Saving Money

A recent report published by Liverpool John Moores University academics found that the unit is saving £1.3 million per year for the NHS. If more units adopted the same approach, the savings to the NHS in England could be £27.5 million per year.

However, the future of Chapman Barker is not secure. Although funding is in place for another year, after that there is no guarantee of it continuing. Nevertheless, experts agree that by not keeping the centre open, the cost to the NHS will be more in the long term.

Alcohol Addiction

Many people all over the UK are suffering from addiction and need help to get better. With more centres such as Chapman Barker, more people could kick their habit and not simply be treated for the effects that their alcoholism causes.

Thankfully, there are many treatment providers working hard all over the UK to help those suffering from addiction to get the support they need.

Addiction Helper works with treatment providers from both the private and public sector and can put clients in touch with the most suitable rehabilitation centre for their needs.

We will assess your situation and will provide you with the information you need on the treatments available. If you or a loved one is suffering because of legal highs, contact us today for information about addiction politics and how we can help.


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