Shock health figures have revealed that five Accrington residents per day are hospitalised for alcohol abuse.

The figures, collected by the Observer, reveal there have been almost 11,000 admissions to hospital in the last six years for conditions that are wholly or partly attributable to alcohol abuse.

The number of hospital admissions among Accrington men and women has increased by almost 50 per cent between 2008 and 2013, making Hyndburn the worst borough in Lancashire for alcohol abuse in women and the second worst in men.

Dr Mike Ions, chief clinical officer at NHS East Lancashire CCG, said: “It is quite shocking that Hyndburn is one of the worst performing boroughs for women being admitted to hospital with alcohol-related problems, however, we know it’s a problem not only in Hyndburn, but across much of the county.

“Although the data shows a huge increase in admissions over the last five years, it also encouraging to see a marked improvement over the last two years with fewer admissions.

“There are risks associated with regularly drinking more than the recommended levels of no more than two to three units per day.

“This can include liver damage, reduced fertility and an increased risk of heart attack. I would advise anyone who has any concerns about their levels of alcohol use to contact their GP practice who will be able to advise further.”

Recovering alcoholic Kirk Ryder, 42, runs an Accrington charity to help those struggling with substance and alcohol abuse and said the figures meant ‘more needed to be done to help those suffering’.

He said: “I think to help people who are suffering with alcohol problems we need to address three basic things, housing, friends and something to do.

“I talk to people about my own experiences all the time, it makes such a difference when you can show empathy. I have been through it.

“All of us at Red Rose Recovery have been through suffering, we are not doing this from a textbook. When you are an alcoholic you feel discontented and on another level from the world, it is not nice.”

Kirk said that he believed the large number of hospital admissions were down to a lack of employment and also the availability of cheap alcohol.

He said: “We have been living through a terrible economic downturn where people are left without employment and are doing nothing, pubs are closing all over the place and it’s so easy to go and get cheap alcohol from off licences.

“Home drinking has become a massive problem and it needs addressing.

“People only need to reach out for help that first time and they can start to improve their lives.”

Mark Spedding, project manager at the East Lancashire Integrated Substance Misuse Service, said: “There are any number of reasons that can be attributed to a rise in hospital admissions for alcohol use.

“What is more worrying is that it often takes a hospital admittance for people to recognise that they have a problem with alcohol.

“At Inspire we will be running a number of initiatives to help people better understand when alcohol use becomes a problem.”

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