DOZENS of babies and toddlers have been taken to the Royal Blackburn Hospital with alcohol poisoning, according to ‘shocking’ new figures.
Data obtained by the Lancashire Telegraph showed at least 25 children under the age of five have attended the emergency department with possible alcohol poisoning since 2009, including several aged under a year old.
Only a handful of cases were serious enough for the child to be admitted, but the figures prompted health watchdog Mohammed Iqbal to call for a ‘root cause analysis’.
The numbers were revealed in data released by East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust following a Freedom of Information request for alcohol-related cases at the Royal Blackburn.
Data showed 3,873 patients of all ages admitted with alcohol poisoning, or mental and behavioural disorders due to use of alcohol, in 2013/14, which was up 16 per cent from 3,331 cases in 2009/10.
Coun Iqbal, deputy chairman of Lancashire County Council health scrutiny committee, said: “These shocking statistics reveal some deep rooted issues that need to be addressed.
“There needs to be some detailed work to look at the causes of this.”
It is likely that the youngest children were suffering from the effects of their mother drinking alcohol while they were still in the womb.
Coun Azhar Ali, cabinet member for health and wellbeing at the county council, said: “This information is tragic and sensational in that it points to the true picture of the effects of alcohol, and we need to stop brushing these problems under the carpet.
“This is why we are pushing for Lancashire to be one of the first areas of the country to introduce minimum alcohol prices.”