RACS has advocated against the harmful effects of alcohol for many years, not only for the increased risk of complication Response to SA liquor and gambling commissioner it poses to surgical patients, but also for the broader ramifications it has on the sustainability of our public health system and society as a whole. Overall, the estimated one in eight hospitalisations relating to alcohol misuse continue to represent a significant and concerning proportion of health system workload.
Each day, South Australian surgeons witness what is primarily a preventable burden of South Australian alcohol related harm. They work with other health care providers, ambulance officers and nursing staff in the fight to save and subsequently assist in the management of the lives of patients injured in alcohol related harm.
Orthopaedic surgeons repair shattered limbs, and general surgeons operate on internal organs smashed in car crashes – many of which are alcohol related. Faciomaxillary surgeons repair shattered faces from acts of alcohol fuelled (65 per cent) interpersonal violence.
Neurosurgeons perform time critical surgery draining blood from within the skulls of inebriated patients following low energy falls or coward punched victims. NSW surgeons also treat and manage the chronic medical aspects of primarily preventable alcohol related harms. This includes high levels of irreversible liver disease, including younger people requiring transplants, and a range of cancers likely caused by alcohol consumption exceeding national guidelines (16 per cent of breast cancer in Australian women is directly attributable to the alcohol, which is a Class 1 cancer causing molecule, which they have consumed).
Surgeons are therefore well placed to offer firsthand advice on the detrimental impacts that alcohol related harm can have on individuals, families and communities. We thank you for the opportunity to respond to this hearing, and we have outlined our objection to the based on the Evidence base, the Objects of the Act and the ongoing uncertainty regarding Covid-19.