I was very suspicious of the news this week detailing evidence from one hospital in one month that the liberalization of the drinking laws had led to a three-fold increase in alcohol-related A&E admissions. Very suspicious because i work as an information analyst at a hospital close to Birmingham City Centre and have done two studies into this which suggest there has been absolutely no impact. My colleague looked at the subject again this week as a result of this story breaking and came to the same conclusion. I really suspect there is a hidden agenda behind this story, because it is questionable to present data based only on one month. I looked at a years worth of data, and in one of the reports took into account many conditions that may be related to increased alcohol consumption, but found no significant changes.
It should also be noted that it is not very easy, at my hospital at least, to produce this information, as the data from A&E is pretty difficult to interrogate. I doubt it is very different at St. Thomas' hospital because of the nature of A&E data. I would put this down to an increased awareness and recording of alcohol problems by the medical staff in A&E, as opposed to a genuine increase.