Shock new figures on liver disease

Liver disease is on the rise in St Helens
Liver disease is on the rise in St Helens

SHOCKING new figures show that people in St Helens are twice as likely to die from liver disease than the national average.

In 2009-2011, the liver disease mortality rate for under 75s in St Helens was 28.53 per 100,000 population - compared to a national average of just 14.4.

If current trends continue, that rate could rise to 35 by the end of next year too.

Health chiefs battling the borough’s growing booze binge epidemic now face a bill of £519 per head of population to treat alcohol related harm - a figure significantly higher than the likes of nearby Halton and Liverpool.

The national average is just £387.

And St Helens has been pinpointed as one of the eight North West areas which are worst affected by alcohol-related harm.

Concerned director of public health, Liz Gaulton, said: “There is a big support network available for people to get help to control their drinking. St Helens Council, in partnership with the NHS, has commissioned a new service, Addaction, which can offer help to adults aged 19 and over - and it’s completely confidential.

“You can also speak to your doctor about any worries you have. If you are a heavy drinker you are strongly advised to consult you GP before trying to quit.”

In the last 10 years, admissions to hospital for alcoholic liver disease has increased by 85 per cent across the North West.

Worryingly, there are significantly higher rates of alcohol-related liver disease in St Helens, Sefton and Wirral than in areas like Warrington and Cheshire East.

Nationally, hospital admissions for alcohol-related cancer has also increased from 29,400 in 2002/03 to 37,600 in 2010/11.

Coun Sue Murphy, St Helens Council’s cabinet member for public health, added: “We all owe it to ourselves and our families to stay healthy. We aim to reduce the death rate by one per 100,000 by next year. But we have a long way to go to fight this alarming trend.”

Addaction is available on 01744 610555.

Under 19s should contact the Young People’s Drug and Alcohol team on 01744 675605.