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Worcestershire drink abuse battle plan is short of cash
A HEALTH boss has said there will be no new cash to tackle alcohol abuse in Worcestershire even though thousands are drinking at harmful levels.
An alcohol plan for the county was approved at a meeting of the Worces-tershire Health and Wellbeing Board. However, bosses have admitted they will not have any extra funds to help the estimated 105,122 adults in Worcestershire who drink at levels which damage their health:
- In Worcester there are 14,688 at ‘increasing risk’ and 2,963 at ‘higher risk’, the most vulnerable group.
- In Malvern Hills there are 3,360 people in this higher risk group.
- In Wychavon the figure is higher again with 4,987.
Dr Richard Harling, the county’s director of public health, said: “The art of this isn’t going to be more re-sources. They just aren’t there. The answer has to be primarily one of leadership and changing culture.”
Worcestershire spends about £526,356 a year on treatment services with about £200,000 on initiatives including work with homeless drinkers.
The alcohol plan (2013-16) includes preparing educational materials, more training for staff and more support for alcohol-free public activities.
Dr Francis Howie, assistant director of public health for Worcestershire, said in a presentation to the group that the use of alcohol presented “a sad picture” in the county.
An Alcohol Action Group will be formed to develop and implement a more detailed operational plan. An update on the progress is expected to be delivered in autumn.