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While the NHS is having an ambulance crisis to make its situation even worse, Sunak is encouraging alcoholism.

I remember a few years ago my 90something neighbour had fallen and couldn't move. I rang an ambulance for him. It took about five hours to arrive - we rang again before that, of course, but they explained that, since it was just after new year, many youngsters and their alcohol-related tomfoolery were busying up all the ambulances. And then today I see in the headlines at the same time that the NHS is having a serious crisis with people dying in ambulances, waiting to be seen, the government is doing what it can to help the sale of alcohol, giving tax relief to pub owners (see: https://www.express.co.uk/news/uk/1345645/Pubs-bailout-latest-uk-hospitality-rishi-sunak for example, not to mention all that's already been done, from vouchers to prematurely ending 'lockdowns' to help such businesses recover). The NHS's own web site tells us: <<

Alcohol contributes to a wide range of conditions including cardiovascular disease, cancer and liver disease, as well as harm from accidents, violence and self-harm. 12 to 15% of A&E attendances are alcohol-related and over 1.1m hospital admissions each year have alcohol as a causal factor in the patient's diagnosis.

In England, the average age at death of those dying from an alcohol-specific cause is 54.3 years. The average age of death from all causes is 77.6 years. More working years of life are lost in England because of alcohol-related deaths than from cancer of the lung, bronchus, trachea, colon, rectum, brain, pancreas, skin, ovary, kidney, stomach, bladder and prostate, combined.

The harm from alcohol is not equally distributed among the population and alcohol dependence is particularly correlated with deprivation. Alcohol misuse rates for the most deprived are more than double those for the least deprived and those from lower socioeconomic circumstances experience higher levels of alcohol-related mortality. Individuals living in high deprivation areas suffer disproportionate alcohol-related harm at a given level of alcohol consumption compared to people in low deprivation areas.

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The government has been bending over backwards to help pubs survive their natural destruction by the real forces of the market (people making sensible choices - and that's hardly a common event in our times). With the NHS, accident and emergency wards, ambulances, GP surgeries all clearly suffering extreme pressure, is now the time to pump tax payers' money into fuelling alcohol addiction?