More needs to be done by the Department of Health to combat the growing problem of alcohol misuse in England, according to an influential group of MPs.
The cross-party Public Accounts Committee (PAC) says that many PCTs do not have "much idea" what they are spending on the treatment of dependent drinkers. They say this increases the risk that, following immediate medical care, patients would relapse into former drinking habits.
In a new report – Reducing Alcohol Harm: Health Services in England for Alcohol Misuse – the MPs discovered that government departments did not communicate well on matters such as licensing, taxation and glass sizes.
Tory MP Edward Leigh, chair of the PAC, said: "Too many are drinking too much. In England, nearly a third of all men and a fifth of all women are regularly drinking more than the official guidelines say they should. In doing so, many are on course to damaging their health and general wellbeing.
"The burden on local health services is huge, with the rate of alcohol-related hospital admissions climbing sharply, and accident and emergency departments flooded on weekend nights with drink-associated injury cases."