By Joanne Ellul
Nearly a third of men and a fifth of women in England are regularly drinking more than official guideline limits, the committee revealed in its report on reducing alcohol harm.
However, many PCTs have neither drawn up strategies to tackle alcohol harm in their areas nor know how much they are spending on alcohol services, Edward Leigh, Conservative MP for Gainsborough in Lincolnshire and chairman of the committee, said.
Each PCT should show the progress it has made towards reducing the number of alcohol-related hospital admissions in its area, Mr Leigh said. In 2006/07, there were some 811,000 alcohol-related hospital admissions, representing a 71% increase since 2002/03.
Mr Leigh also said the DoH needs to examine all departments, initiatives and policies bearing on alcohol misuse and should communicate its concerns about those who are hindering reducing levels of alcohol harm to senior officials.
Dr Peter Carter, chief executive of the Royal College of Nursing (RCN), said: ‘The RCN is calling for the introduction of a single mandatory code to ensure that the alcohol industry does not engage in unscrupulous practices which encourage consumers to drink to excess. Better regulation of the labelling, sale and advertising of alcoholic drinks, as well as widespread education on the dangers of excessive alcohol consumption, is needed to stop this problem from spiralling even further out of control.
‘Nurses have said time and time again that the government must take drastic action to stop this dire situation spiralling out of control.'
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