Residents surveyed about alcohol habits

PIC: Dr Ifeoma Onyia, Interim Director of Public Health for Halton

Two years ago, 35 people from across Cheshire and Merseyside gave up four days of their time to help contribute to the Cheshire and Merseyside Alcohol Inquiry.

Led by Champs Public Health Collaborative on behalf of the nine local authorities in Cheshire and Merseyside, the subregion’s Alcohol Inquiry brought local citizens together to engage in an open and honest debate on having a healthier relationship with alcohol.

Participants shared their views and personal experiences deliberating the question ‘what can we all do to make it easier for people to have a healthier relationship with alcohol?’.

The views and recommendations of those 35 people have been captured in their own words and compiled into a report titled ‘The Cheshire and Merseyside Alcohol Inquiry’. The remaining content has been written by Peter Bryant of Shared Future, a Community Interest Company based in the North West of England.

The Collaborative will use the recommendations from the Cheshire and Merseyside Alcohol Inquiry to inform the subregion’s Reduction of Harm Through Alcohol programme and any co-ordinated advocacy to national government, with colleagues and stakeholders from around the country.

Dr Ifeoma Onyia, Interim Director of Public Health for Halton, said:
“In Halton, reducing alcohol harm is a key public health priority. Although levels of alcohol related hospital admissions are falling, we are still above the England average.

“We welcome this report, particularly the views of local people on how we continue to tackle alcohol harm in our communities. “

In the report foreword, David Parr OBE, former Chief Executive Officer (CEO) for Halton Borough Council and former Cheshire and Merseyside Lead CEO for Alcohol Harm together with Julie Webster, Director of Public Health (DPH) for Wirral and Lead Director for Alcohol Harm said:

“There is clear evidence alcohol misuse has a major impact on many aspects of our life, our physical and mental health, our safety and the safety of others, our economy, our leisure activities, how we celebrate. Even the popular ‘soaps’ many of us watch on TV have a pub at the heart of their story lines.

“This work offers us an opportunity to listen to a cross-section of our community about their relationship with alcohol. We would like to thank those who took part for their time and their candid and personal reflections.

“The purpose of this work is to open an honest debate on alcohol misuse and what action we could take to improve our individual and collective relationship with alcohol. It also provides real evidence, from real people to supplement and support the extensive scientific and clinical research on how alcohol impacts our day to day lives and those we interact with.”

Dr Paul Richardson, Consultant Hepatologist at Liverpool University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and Clinical Lead for the Collaborative’s Reduction of Harm Through Alcohol Programme, said:

“The views of all the participants who took part in the Cheshire and Merseyside Alcohol Inquiry are greatly appreciated and central to our vision for addressing the problem of alcohol harm and ultimately saving lives across the country.

“This new report will help us speak to decision-makers, locally and nationally as well as help the NHS and many organisations across Cheshire, Merseyside and the UK make a difference to local people and support people to make healthier choices with alcohol.”

The Cheshire and Merseyside Alcohol Inquiry report can be downloaded here.https://www.champspublichealth.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/04/Citizens-Inquiry-Report-Final-April-2022.pdf

For further information on the report, please contact Ravi Menghani, Champs Support Team Lead for the Reduction of Harm Through Alcohol Programme via ravimenghani@wirral.gov.uk

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