Councillor Dave Shields, Cabinet Member for Health and Community Safety, said:
“Having run the In Case of Emergency (ICE) Bus in Southampton for several years, the council fully recognises the benefits of working in partnership to provide on-site care to New Year's Eve party-goers in the city centre to take some of the strain off emergency services during the festive season. As part of our alcohol awareness activity, we welcome the opportunity to work with colleagues in the police, the NHS and voluntary sector partners, such as Southampton Street Pastors, to arrive at a solution that ensures A&E services are used by those who really need them".
Over 10% of Southampton’s General Emergency Department workload is related to alcohol work. A recent snap shot taken of all the patients on the acute medical ward on a Monday morning revealed that 18% were drinking at levels associated with hazardous or harmful alcohol use. In 2014/15 1060 adults were admitted to hospital in Southampton with alcohol specific conditions.
According to an assessment carried out by the council’s Public Health team an estimated 30,000 people in Southampton are drinking alcohol at levels that put their long term health at risk.
Alcohol is a causal factor in more than 60 medical conditions including liver disease, heart disease, cancer and stroke. Despite this, a survey of the Southampton population revealed that 75% of people were unaware that the recommended weekly alcohol limit to keep health risks low is 14 units.
This month, the council launched a new alcohol awareness campaign to raise awareness of the long term health risks associated with drinking more than 14 units of alcohol a week and to encourage people to keep track of how much they drink. A pint of beer for instance can be 2-3 units, depending on the strength.