Rising alcohol addiction costs 'could cripple the NHS'
The cost of treating the growing number of people drinking heavily threatens to cripple NHS hospitals, warn experts.
If the trend continues the burden will be unsustainable, the Royal College of Physicians and NHS Confederation say.
And a happy new year to you too, you scare-mongering, lemon-sucking, compulsive lying, pointy-headed, neo-prohibitionist fucking cranks.
This non-story was published on the BBC website at five minutes past midnight on New Year's Day. It would be nice to think that some wag at the Beeb thought it would be richly ironic to put an anti-alcohol piece online at the one time when everybody is pissed, but a more plausible explanation is that the BBC wanted to start the decade as it means to go on - ie. with doom-mongering drivel from state-funded temperance dicks.
And which dick is mongering the doom on this occasion? Why, it's our old friend Ian Gilmore.
Professor Ian Gilmore, president of the Royal College of Physicians, said: "The nation's growing addiction to alcohol is putting an immense strain on health services, especially in hospitals, costing the NHS over £2.7 billion each year."
As I tire of pointing out, the nation has not got a "growing addiction to alcohol". What we do have is a new way of
fiddling measuring the figures which makes it appear that more people are exceeding the weekly guidelines - guidelines which are, in any case, based on fuck all evidence. In fact, in light of recent research, anyone who wants to look after their ticker should consider 28 units a week to be the bare minimum they should be imbibing, as my gracious host reported back in November:
Men who drink regularly, even in small quantities, are more than 30% less likely to suffer from heart disease, it found. But those who drink the most cut their risk by the most. Those classed as high consumers of alcohol, between 30 and 90 grams per day, had 54% less chance of getting the disease, while those deemed to have a very high intake, of more than 90 grams or at least eight glasses of wine a day, were 50% less likely.
Besides which, estimates of cost to the NHS invariably rely on the notion that if people didn't die from [insert taxable pleasure of your choice], they wouldn't die from anything at all. Instead, they would lead an eternal life of joyful abstinence, never requiring a hip replacement and never troubling a doctor.
And this sum has doubled in under five years.
They revised their estimate, you fools.
"This burden is no longer sustainable," he said.
Really? Well, since the annual NHS budget is £95 billion, it certainly sounds pretty fucking sustainable. But just to make sure, let's see how much drinkers pay in tax.
• HM Revenue and Customs' receipts for spirits duties in 2006-2007 were £2.2 billion, and are projected to be £2.3 billion in 2007-2008 .
• Revenues for wine duties in 2006-2007 were £2.4 billion, and are projected to be £2.5 billion in 2007-2008.
• Revenues for beer and cider duties in 2006-2007 were £3.3 billion, and are projected to be £3.4 billion in 2007-2008.
At well over £8 billion a year and rising, I can only concur with the immortal words of The Daily Mash...
"Following a quick glance at my tax bill I've decided that the NHS will treat me and the government can keep its fucking opinions to itself."
All Gilmore and his cohorts are doing here is borrowing a tired old trick from their fellow health warriors at the National Obesity Forum (whose credibility is in no way compromised by being funded by pharmaceutical companies who make weight-loss drugs. Absolutely not.) You may remember such news reports as this from 2007...
Obesity epidemic 'could bankrupt the NHS'
Tackling Britain’s obesity epidemic could bankrupt the NHS, a leading expert has warned.
It is anticipated that obesity could cost as much as £45 billion a year by 2050, to pay for growing incidents of diabetes, strokes and heart disease as well as the loss of earnings by those too heavy to work, a conference was warned.
Dr Colin Waine, chairman of the National Obesity Forum (NOF), said the financial implications of obesity were "huge" and claimed the Government would have to confront the food industry to tackle the problem.
And this from 2006...
Obesity 'could bankrupt the NHS'The rising levels of obesity could bankrupt the NHS if left unchecked, a British Medical Journal report warns.
Experts, including government A&E tsar George Alberti and Glasgow University professor Naveed Sattar, said obesity treatment took up 9% of the NHS budget.
But they warned this would rise as the number of obese adults rose from one in five to one in three by 2010.
Pay particular attention to that last line. It's now 2010. Are 1 in 3 adults obese? No, not even close. Will these made up statistics and scare stories dominate the BBC's output for another ten years? You bet your sweet ass they will.