Alcohol admissions up again

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Tom smithThere were 1.09m hospital admissions for an alcohol-related disease, injury or condition in 2014-15, up from 1.06m the previous year, according to the latest figures from the Heath and Social Care Information Centre (HSCIC). The number includes admissions where an alcohol-related condition was either the primary reason or secondary diagnosis. Sixty-five per cent of those admitted were men.

Alcohol-related deaths were up by 4 per cent to 6,830, 13 per cent higher than a decade ago, and more than 60 per cent were the result of alcoholic liver disease. The number of prescriptions related to alcohol dependence is also nearly double the amount ten years ago, at 196,000, and with a cost of almost £4m. However, just 38 per cent of secondary school pupils reported having ever drunk alcohol, the lowest figure recorded and down from 62 per cent when the survey began.

The statistics draw together published and unpublished data to provide a detailed overview of patterns of use, as well as a regional breakdown. The highest rate of admissions was found in Salford, at 3,570 per 100,000 population, while the lowest was in Wokingham, at 1,270 per 100,000.

The Local Government Association (LGA) called the figures ‘shocking’, while Alcohol Concern’s director of campaigns, Tom Smith, said that the ‘alarming’ rise in admissions and deaths showed ‘just how desperately we need the government to take serious action on alcohol harm’.

‘Beyond liver disease, the public’s understanding around alcohol harms is low – this is why we need action to raise awareness of the health harms, especially the increased risk of cancer,’ he continued. ‘To ensure the public better understand units and the risks associated with alcohol, we’re calling for mandatory health warnings on alcohol products, as is standard practice in other countries. We also need a mass media campaign to make sure the chief medical officer’s alcohol guidelines and the risks are widely known and understood.’

Statistics on alcohol – England 2016 at www.hscic.gov.uk