Problem drinking among women high in St Helens

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St Helens has the fourth highest number of alcohol-related admissions to hospitals among women, new figures show.

It comes as a report issued by the All Party Parliamentary Group [APPG] into the current picture of Foetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder [FASD] has found that the UK is lagging far behind other developed countries in raising awareness of the condition and implementing effective services and strategies to confront the growing challenges posed by FASD. The report also emphasises the important message that pregnant mothers and those trying to become pregnant should not consume alcohol.

FASD is a condition caused when a person is exposed to alcohol in the womb, leaving the person with a range of physical, behavioural and cognitive difficulties for the rest of their life.

The World Health Organisation estimate that FASD affects one per cent of people born today although in some critical areas the numbers could be significantly higher, particularly in areas with higher alcohol misuse.

Local statistics show from St Helens the rate of alcohol-specific hospital admissions in females in the borough is the 4th worst in the country (at a rate of 500 per 100,000 population).

St Helens South Marie Rimmer, a member of the APPG on FASD, has in recent weeks raised this issue with officers from St Helens Council.

She said: “Since being elected in May, I have been in contact with several local families who have been affected by Foetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder.

“It is clear from the conversations we have had that not enough post adoption support is available for those affected by FASD.

“Over 7,000 children born in the UK each year are affected by FASD. It should not be the case that parents and carers have to fight for support services for their children. Tackling FASD requires a response from the government.

“I am delighted that St Helens Council are taking action locally but without a national response from the Government, FASD as an issue will continue to be overlooked by the population as a whole.”