Hospitals despair at alcohol toll

Dominion Post 7 Dec 2011
Alcohol abuse is saddling the health system with “entirely avoidable costs” and causing despair among staff who pick up the pieces, Wellington’s health sector leaders say. In an open letter to The Dominion Post, 14 of the 18 members of Capital & Coast and Hutt Valley district health boards have called for “a community-wide conversation” about alcohol, saying the health system can do only so much on its own.

The board members – who are voted in by the public or appointed by the Government – have added their voices to those of staff at both organisations, who have relentlessly decried the end effects of alcohol abuse. Alcohol, as well as contributing to patients showing up at emergency departments, is responsible for a significant proportion of cancers, organ diseases and other long-term illnesses that the health system treats.