Britain is not the boozing capital of Europe, according to official data revealed today.
The UK is actually in the middle of the pack in terms of alcohol consumption, behind both France and Germany.
A report from the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) found that Britons drank 9.7 liters of pure alcohol per adult in 2020 – 0.1 less than the EU average.
It was the equivalent of about nine pints of low-strength beer or six large glasses of wine a week.
Today’s official data showed that the UK is actually in the middle range in terms of alcohol consumption, behind France and Germany
Most countries, including Great Britain, have seen their drink consumption fall over the past decade. Alcohol sales per adult fell by 4 percent in the UK
How much alcohol consumption has changed from 2010 to 2020 in Europe
Latvia had the highest rate with 12.1 liters per adult during the year, while France had 10.4 and Germans drank 10.6.
However, the data also showed that Britain lagged Europe on several other health outcomes.
Like most of the EU, UK health spending skyrocketed after the pandemic – albeit by more than most countries and to a much higher total than the average.
The difference was mainly driven by a “sharp growth in spending” on PPE and Covid testing, the OECD said.
Meanwhile, the NHS has fewer doctors per capita than most of Europe, the data also showed.
The OECD and the European Commission Health at a glance: Europe 2022 report compared the total amount of pure alcohol sold to people aged 15 and over in countries across Europe.
It compared totals in 2010 with 2020, or the closest annual data available for each country.
After Latvia, the Czech Republic was the most drunk country in 2020, drinking an average of 11.6 liters per year.
It was followed by Lithuania (11.4 litres), Austria (11.3) and Bulgaria (11.2).
By comparison, the lowest rate was in Turkey – where a Muslim majority bans alcohol – where only 1.2 liters per person were sold.
Most countries, including Great Britain, have seen their drink consumption fall over the past decade.
Ukraine saw the biggest drop from 7.8 liters per person in 2010 to 5.7 in 2019 – before the Russian invasion began – a drop of 37 percent.
This is followed by Greece (32%), the Netherlands (26%) and Spain (26%).
Alcohol consumption fell by 4 percent in the UK.
Latvia experienced the largest increase (19 percent), followed by Malta and Bulgaria (both 13 percent) and Norway (11 percent).
The report said: ‘Many European countries have introduced a range of policies to limit alcohol consumption, such as taxes, restrictions on the availability of alcohol and bans on alcohol advertising.
“But its effectiveness is hampered by poor field implementation and limited resources.”
Brits are urged not to drink more than 14 glasses a week on a regular basis – the equivalent of six pints of lager or 10 small glasses of wine. The data showed that most people drank more on average.
Americans are advised to drink no more than 14 small cans of beer per week for men and seven small glasses of wine for women.
Drinking too much over the long term increases your risk of a range of diseases, including heart disease, stroke, liver disease and cancer.
Environmentalists last month called for a “green tax” on liquor to curb sales and lessen the impact on the ecosystem.
Britain had the highest drop-off in elective surgeries in Europe during the Covid pandemic
The UK also had a significant drop in most cancer-related surgeries, with only Romania seeing a sharper drop in prostectomies
More than 30 per cent of over-65s with a chronic condition had a health appointment canceled or postponed during the first year of the pandemic in the UK, more than in Germany, Norway, Sweden, France and Switzerland
Despite the UK’s relatively positive drinking statistics, OECD data also revealed that the country has trailed most of Europe on other health indicators post-pandemic.
Cancer-related surgeries fell 26 percent from 2019 to 2020, during the first year of Covid.
It was worse than all other countries in Europe, with the exception of Romania, which saw a 30 percent drop.
The UK also had the largest drop in elective surgeries as they were suspended for longer than other countries, said Stefano Scarpetta, director for employment, labor and social affairs at the OECD.
Hip replacement surgeries fell by 46 percent in Britain, compared to an EU-wide average of 14 percent.
Knee replacements were down a whopping 68 percent, while cataract surgeries were down 47 percent.
The drop-off was partly caused by a staffing crisis, with Britain having just three doctors per 1,000 inhabitants, compared to an average of four in the EU.
The OECD said: ‘The main constraint in rapidly increasing the number of activities has been the health workforce.
‘Incentives are given to current staff to work harder and longer, but this has limits and carries the risk of burnout and resignation.’
DO YOU DRINK TOO MUCH ALCOHOL? THE 10 QUESTIONS THAT REVEAL YOUR RISK
A screening tool commonly used by medical professionals is the AUDIT (Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Tests). The 10-question test, developed in conjunction with the World Health Organization, is considered the gold standard for helping determine whether someone is abusing alcohol.
The test is reproduced here with permission from the WHO.
To complete it, answer each question and record the corresponding score.
0-7: You are within the limits of sensible drinking and have a low risk of alcohol-related problems.
More than 8: Indicate harmful or dangerous drinking.
8-15: Medium risk level. If you drink at your current level, you risk having problems with your health and life in general, such as work and relationships. Consider cutting down (see below for tips).
16-19: Higher risk of complications from alcohol. Cutting back on your own can be difficult at this level as you may be dependent, so you may need professional help from your GP and/or a counselor.
20 and older: Possible dependency. Your drinking is already causing problems and you could very well be dependent. You should definitely consider stopping gradually or at least drinking less. You should seek professional help to determine your dependency and the safest way to stop drinking.
Severe dependence may require medically assisted weaning or detox in a hospital or specialist clinic. This is due to the potential for severe alcohol withdrawal symptoms in the first 48 hours that require specialist treatment.