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Binge Drinking Costing London £60 Million A Year

Tuesday 24th June 2014

Binge drinking is costing emergency services in London more than £60m every year. 

drunk At least £45 million a year is spent on binge drinkers needing emergency hospital admission and London Ambulance Service is spending £16 million a year treating the problem, according to the results of a Freedom of Information request.

The figures, provided by the Greater London Assembly Conservative Group, also show admissions relating to alcohol in Londonís hospitals have tripled in the last decade Ė from 56,000 in 2002 to 156,000 in 2011.

"Many people like a tipple but our public services should not be catering for bingers who canít handle their drink," GLA Conservative London Assembly Member, and author of the report, Tony Arbour said.

"Our ambulances, prison cells and A&Es are designed for medical emergencies or dangerous criminals, yet we are seeing Londonís drunks hogging these services, costing the Capital millions of pounds."

Mr Arbour is calling for fines for drunkeness to be doubled to £180.

"The cash raised could fund targeted support and guidance for repeat offenders. The Mayor of London needs to lobby Parliament to make this happen and Iíll be urging him to do so."

The report also calls for so-called Sobering Centres and Booze Buses, manned by nurses, to operate on troubled high streets across London all year round.

Currently, London has recently closed its only sobering centre, which was located in Soho and has just one remaining Booze Bus, which operates on a seasonal basis.

"As well as deterring this behaviour, we need to deal with drunks in a more appropriate way," Mr Arbour continued.

"Purpose-built Sobering Centres and Booze Buses, manned by nurses, can provide low level treatment such as blood pressure and blood sugar checks as well as a bed for the night. This will deliver significant savings by freeing up prison cells and emergency rooms for Londonís real problems."

The GLA Conservative Group are recommending three Sobering Centres and 10 Booze Buses should operate all year round across London.