Half as many people were found affected by drinking in this year's alcohol harm snapshot survey.

Across 18 New Zealand emergency departments one in eight patients were there because of alcohol-related issues, half of last year's last year's result of one-in-four.

The Australasian College for Emergency Medicine (ACEM) conducted its fourth annual Alcohol Harm Snapshot Survey at 2am on Saturday, December 16.

The college's New Zealand faculty chair Dr John Bonning said although it was good to see an improvement, there was still clearly a problem.


"Caring for people with what could be described as self-inflicted harm impacts on our ability to look after other people in ED: the elderly, the very young."

College president Dr Simon Judkins urged further action be taken to quell alcohol consumption.

"These results continue to paint a worrying picture of the impact of alcohol in Australian and New Zealand health systems.

"What concerns me most is that ACEM has highlighted this problem for quite some time, and yet we continue to see alcohol advertising at sporting events, leaders across many public spheres promoting alcohol excess as an acceptable community standard, an ongoing neglect of legislation to impact this issue and a lack of investment in providing help to those affected."

ACEM supports the Health Promotion Agency's low risk alcohol consumption guidelines, which aim to help people make an informed choice and help keep the risk of alcohol-related accidents, injuries, diseases and death low.

ACEM was recently awarded a VicHealth award for its work in the prevention of alcohol-related harm.