In a new study from Private Rehab Clinic Delamere, alcohol-related hospital admissions dropped by an average of 70% in the UK during the pandemic. This seems a positive outcome on the surface, but unfortunately, that isn’t the case.
During the pandemic, access to usually readily available health and social care was much more restricted and still isn’t fully back to normal. Hospitals were overwhelmed and beds were reserved for those fighting for their lives with Covid-19, while other health services moved online, over the phone or completely cancelled.
With alcohol deaths rising to an all-time high of 8,974 in 2020, an 18.6% increase from 2019 alongside hospital admissions decreasing, it’s clear that the lack of health services available had fatal consequences for many.
Across the UK, alcohol-related hospital admissions are at an all-time low. This fact even applies to the East Midlands an area which has seen the lowest reduction in admission rates. Here, hospital admissions have decreased by 64.71% with figures dropping from 67,800 in 2017–2018, to just 23,930 in 2020–2021.
Catherine Carney, Delamere’s psychiatrist and addiction specialist, says of the findings: ‘On the face of it, a decrease in alcohol-related hospital admissions appears to be a positive outcome. However, upon deeper inspection, it’s clear that this is not necessarily the case.’
‘During the pandemic, ready access to health and social care was much more restricted, this meant routine hospital services were also very restricted.’
‘To prioritise access to hospital beds for those fighting Covid-19, other health services were replaced with telephone or online consultations or postponed entirely. In addition, hospital staff were redeployed or limited in their abilities due to a stark increase in their workload.’
‘In this context, it’s also worth noting that alcohol deaths throughout the UK rose to an all-time high in 2020. From this statistic alone, it’s clear that the dramatic decline in alcohol-related hospital admissions sadly had fatal consequences for far too many people.’
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