Survey reveals alcohol’s impact on emergency departments

Amanda Lyons

20/12/2017 10:58:56 AM

New data from the Australasian College for Emergency Medicine has revealed that up to 20% of patients in state and territory emergency departments are affected by alcohol.

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An average of one in eight patients presented in Australian emergency departments because of excessive alcohol intake.

The Alcohol harm snapshot survey used information taken across 100 Australian emergency departments at 2.00 am (local time) on Saturday 16 December.
Overall, one in eight patients presented in emergency departments because of excessive alcohol intake; however, numbers varied considerably by state: New South Wales and Victoria averaged one in 10, while Western Australia was much higher with one in five. All the other states and territories averaged close to six in 10.
‘These results continue to paint a worrying picture of the impact of alcohol in Australian and New Zealand health systems,’ Australasian College for Emergency Medicine (ACEM) President Dr Simon Judkins said. ‘To know that up to one in five patients receiving care in emergency departments are there due to the impacts of alcohol on their lives, their health, shows us that there is so much more we need to do to address this problem.
‘We continue to see alcohol advertising at sporting events, leaders across many public spheres promoting alcohol excess as an acceptable community standard, an ongoing neglect of legislation to impact this issue, and a lack of investment in providing help to those affected.’
ACEM recommends the National Health and Medical Research Council’s Australian guidelines to reduce health risks from drinking alcohol to provide health professionals with evidence-based advice on the health effects of alcohol.

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