Thank you for contacting me about alcohol misuse.
The Global Burden of Disease study has identified alcohol and drug use as one of the top five risk factors that cause premature deaths in England. I am, therefore, encouraged that the Government has targeted a range of areas to tackle alcohol misuse since the publication of the Alcohol Strategy in 2012.
Alcohol contributes to a range of conditions, including cardiovascular disease, cancer and liver disease, harm from accidents, violence and self-harm: as a result it places substantial pressure on the NHS. Trailblazer hospitals across the country have established specialist Alcohol Care Teams (ACTs), which significantly reduce accident and emergency attendances, bed days, readmissions and ambulance call-outs related to alcohol. By 2024, those hospitals with the highest rate of alcohol dependence-related admissions will be supported to fully establish ACTs. Delivered in the 25 per cent of worst affected hospitals, this could prevent 50,000 admissions over five years.
On a more local level, powers and responsibilities have been given to local areas to tackle public health concerns. Local authorities can commission the support services as they deem fit, and I am pleased to note that high quality, evidence-based treatment services are being run throughout the country.
Last year, Dame Carol Black was commissioned to lead an independent review of drugs, focussing on treatment, recovering and prevention, including an assessment of the adequacy of drug and alcohol service funding. The review was published in July and makes 32 recommendations to Government, including increasing levels of funding. I understand that a Government response to the review will be published shortly and I look forward to reading its contents in due course.
Decisions regarding alcohol duty will be announced in the Spending Review. Alongside measures to reduce the risk of harm caused by alcohol misuse, the level of duty does of course need to take into account the millions of people who consume alcohol safely and the local businesses that rely on alcohol sales.
Thank you again for taking the time to contact me.