Experts Fear Health Risks

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Byline: By Helen Sturdy

Plans to introduce 24-hour drinking have been blasted by health specialists and addiction treatment services across Teesside and East Cleveland.

Public health and accident and emergency experts fear the move could lead to more pressure on vital services. They are warning of a potential increase in the levels of alcohol-related illnesses and accidents.

Treatment service bosses fear more people could become addicted to drink, stretching their resources to the limit.

Professor Peter Kelly, director for public health and health improvement at Middlesbrough Primary Care Trust, said he was sceptical about the controversial plans.

He said: "The Choosing Health White Paper challenges the NHS to reduce the harm done due to alcohol consumption.

"The theory is that people will be more sensible and spread their drinking out and therefore you are likely to have fewer incidents and injuries. My view is that you are likely to get an increase in the number of people with alcohol addictions. Mortality for cirrhosis of the liver is steadily increasing and that is very worrying. …