Auckland DHB joins calls for tougher rules around alcohol

People with beer bottles.
Photo credit: Getty

There are concerns about the Government dragging its feet when it comes to addressing alcohol harm.

Auckland DHB has called for tougher rules, especially around the legal drinking age. Around 15 DHBs have issued similar statements to Auckland.

Alcohol Healthwatch spokesperson Dr Nicki Jackson told Newshub hospitals are under intense pressure from booze.

"They suffer a huge financial burden from alcohol and not just the financial burden but also the harm to staff and violence in EDs and things like that."

A spokesperson for the Auckland DHB shared the sentiment, telling NZME alcohol is causing problems across the spectrum.

"In addition to the impact on health services in the community, treating alcohol-related harm in our hospitals requires significant staff time and resources, including security. Our ED staff often face physical abuse from intoxicated patients and visitors," the spokesperson said.

"Other patients are impacted, as treatment of patients in less serious conditions is deprioritised so staff can attend to patients with life-threatening injuries from alcohol-related incidents, such as assaults."

Dr Jackson said it wouldn't cost much to make some significant changes to alcohol policy.

"We're talking about cost-effective measures, raising the price of alcohol, increasing the purchasing age and restricting advertising and sponsorship, they're not hugely costly interventions."

It's estimated there are 47,000 hazardous drinkers in the Auckland DHB zone.