Drinkers should pay hospital costs
Published 02/01/2010 | 09:28
Drinkers who end up in hospital should be charged more than £500 to cover the cost of their admission, a right-leaning think tank has said.
Policy Exchange said excess drinking this New Year's Eve could cost the NHS £23 million and individuals, not the health service, should cover the cost of being admitted to hospital to sleep off the effects of drinking too much.
Patients could also be given a discount if they agree to pay for the cost of their own alcohol education and awareness course, the think tank said.
Henry Featherstone, head of Policy Exchange's health and social care unit, said: "Alcohol misuse in Britain is at a level where it constitutes a public health epidemic.
"Direct costs to the NHS are nearly £3 billion a year. Hospital admissions for alcohol intoxication have doubled in a decade.
"The Government should, now, commit to a review of its entire strategy for tackling the harms from alcohol misuse."
He went on: "We recommend that the costs of being admitted to hospital to sleep off alcoholic excess should be met by individuals, not the NHS.
"Those admitted to hospital for less than 24 hours with acute alcohol intoxication should be charged the NHS tariff cost for their admission of £532.
"This amount would be reduced for those paying the costs of their own alcohol education and awareness course."