The Greater Manchester rate of alcohol-specific deaths is around 50% higher than the England average (15.9 deaths per 100,000 people, compared to 10.6 nationally). And at a local level, every one of Greater Manchester’s ten areas has a rate above this national level.
The Office of National Statistics figures show that between 2015 and 2017, 1,189 Greater Manchester residents died from direct consequences of alcohol misuse, such as liver and heart disease. This averages out to almost 400 people a year, a rate of more than one death every day.
The new data highlights in particular how alcohol is impacting on residents approaching retirement age – with the rate of alcohol-specific deaths nationally now highest among those aged between 60 and 64.
This finding comes as new national NHS data also released today shows that people aged 55 to 64 are the most likely to drink beyond the recommended low-risk guideline of 14 units a week. More than one in three men and one in five women typically drink at this level of higher risk. In addition, almost one in five 55 to 64 year olds usually drink alcohol five or more days a week.
The figures have been released two weeks after the Greater Manchester Health and Social Care Partnership launched the Big Alcohol Conversation to explore and tackle the impacts of alcohol-related harm across the city region.
The initiative, running until the end of February 2019, is Greater Manchester’s largest ever engagement exercise into the scale and nature of alcohol harm. All residents are urged to give their views at www.thebigalcoholconversation.org and help shape Greater Manchester’s ‘Ambition for Alcohol’. This new plan of action for tackling alcohol harm across the city region – potentially including new options available through devolution – is due to published during 2019.
The impacts of alcohol currently cost Greater Manchester’s public services £1.3 billion a year, equating to almost £500 for every resident. The figure represents the annual amount we are paying through health, social care, crime and work costs because of the way we drink.
More than 22,000 Greater Manchester hospital admissions a year are directly caused by alcohol, while almost a quarter of our residents (23%) say that there is a big problem with people being drunk or rowdy in public places.
Sarah Price, executive lead for population health and commissioning in Greater Manchester, said: “These figures show just how important it is that communities in Greater Manchester join in The Big Alcohol Conversation and have their say on the impacts of alcohol. If we are to take positive action to tackle this problem then everybody’s views will be crucial in helping us to do this.
“We know that alcohol is causing a wide range of harms across Greater Manchester. While these affect people across the whole population, we are seeing particular impacts among, for example, those aged between 40 and 64. If we want to change statistics like these we all need to work together.”