Hospital alcohol admissions double in east Berkshire

The number of people being admitted to hospital with alcohol-related illnesses has more than doubled in some parts of Berkshire in the past five years.

NHS figures show there was a 124% increase among women and 51% among men in Slough between 2004 and 2009.

In Bracknell the figure for woman fell by 3%, but the town saw a 58% increase in the number of men needing treatment.

During 2008, 200 people died in the county from alcohol-related illnesses. More than 1,500 ended up in hospital.

The figures for Windsor and Maidenhead showed a 52% increase for men and a 46% rise among women, while in Wokingham the figure went up by 46% among men and 34% for women.

'Growing problem'

Reading had the lowest figure but still saw a 33% increase for men and 13% for women.

West Berkshire saw a similar increase - 33% for men and 37% for women.

Diane Clemison, specialist public health nurse in east Berkshire, said: "It is a growing problem, which we are trying to tackle head-on.

"What concerns me is the number of people who are drinking above and beyond what they should be drinking but actually don't know about it.

"We reckon there is about 60,000 in east Berkshire who are drinking above the safe limit and I think that's an underestimation."

She added: "It's a lifestyle disease. We're into a culture where it's a norm to drink every evening.

"What we're trying to do is make people aware of what they're drinking, how much they're drinking."

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