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Byline: Warren Manger HEALTH REPORTER

DOCTORS in Coventry will make an ambitious attempt to reduce the number of patients who are hospitalised by excessive drinking.

More than 160 people arrive at hospital with alcohol-related illnesses or injuries every day in Coventry.

Now the city's new GP commissioning group aim to cut that figure by 10 per cent in just one year.

It is part of Coventry's new Health and Wellbeing Strategy, which aims to improve quality of life and life expectancy in the city.

Coun Jim O'Boyle, chair of the city's Health and Wellbeing Board, said: "It is a challenging target, but we should not be put off because we are afraid to fail.

"More people are dying from alcohol-related diseases in Coventry than the national and regional average, so it right to make it a priority."

The Telegraph recently revealed that 160,000 adults in Coventry and Warwickshire exceed the safe alcohol limits on a regular basis.

Many do not realise they drink too much as alcohol is now stronger and often served in larger measures.

Encouraging more people to drink safely would improve health.

It would also improve mental wellbeing and reduce attacks, accidents, domestic and sexual violence.

Health chiefs believe a timely chat can be enough to convince many excessive drinkers to cut down.

Trained nurses will be based in A&E to do just that, while doctors will be urged to discuss alcohol with patients during appointments.

Coun O'Boyle said doctors and nurses did an excellent job for patients who were already ill.

Yet he warned many of those at risk from common killers like heart disease never went to see their GP.

The new Health and Wellbeing Strategy brings together doctors, councillors, hospitals, universities and patients to tackle key problems.

Coun O'Boyle said: "This joined up approach to tackling health inequalities hasn't been done before.

"If we can't see how a decision will have a positive impact on wellbeing we have to ask, is it the right one?" On average men in deprived districts such as Foleshill die 13 years younger than those in Earlsdon.

This is linked to a wide range of social factors including poverty, education, employment and lifestyle.

Previous attempts to cut these health inequalities have made little progress, but health chiefs hope the new strategy will make a difference.

Dr Jane Moore, director of public health for Coventry, said in the past the focus had been largely on medical care for those with diseases.

She said the strategy needed to move away from that to work with local communities to prevent those illnesses that were caused by unhealthy lifestyles.
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Publication:Coventry Evening Telegraph (England)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Mar 18, 2013
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