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Alcohol-related deaths and diseases dramatically rising since pandemic

THE NHS could see thousands of extra hospital admissions, deaths and cases of diseases over the next 20 years caused by increased drinking during by the pandemic, experts warned today.

A new study commissioned by NHS England from the University of Sheffield found that while lighter drinkers cut their consumption during the pandemic, heavier drinkers drank more and may never return to where they were.

Experts found that over-45s who were drinking at risky levels before the pandemic were the most likely to increase their drinking when Covid-19 hit.

They warned that at best, an extra 42,000 hospital admissions and 1,800 deaths would occur over 20 years due to alcohol.

At worst, this would rise to 970,000 extra hospital admissions and 25,000 deaths, at a cost to the NHS of £5.2 billion over 20 years.

Senior research fellow Colin Angus, who led the study, said: “These figures highlight that the pandemic’s impact on our drinking behaviour is likely to cast a long shadow on our health and paint a worrying picture at a time when NHS services are already under huge pressure due to treatment backlogs.”

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