Chorley alcohol bombshell sparks warning

Health chiefs say plans to tackle cheap alcohol don't go far enough - and point to the problem in Chorley as evidence why.

Latest figures released by the Central Lancashire Primary Care Trust show that 2,366 per 100,000 of people in the Chorley population have been admitted to hospital for alcohol-related incidents.

That's a rise of 174 compared to 2008/09 and is also 177 above the county average.

Health bosses at the PCT say that cheap alcohol prices are contributing to the problem and are throwing their weight behind the government's plans to increase the minimum price of alcohol.

The Home Office wants to ban shops from selling alcohol below the rate of duty which means that some retailers are selling a unit of alcohol for as low as 8p.

Maggi Morris, NHS Central Lancashire's director of public health, said: "It is of great concern to us that a large number of people are doing themselves damage through alcohol.

"The NHS cannot tackle this problem alone.

"Something has to change and it has to be real and radical because alcohol-related harm is at epidemic levels.

"Raising the minimum cost per unit of alcohol to 50p is the radical change we need and all the evidence shows that it really will work."

The experts at the PCT believe that the current prices of alcohol mean that you could exceed the drink-drive limit for the price of a postage stamp.

* christopher.maguire@lep.co.uk