Alcohol Related Hospital Admissions Doubled In Last 10 Years According To Latest Official Figures, UK

The latest compendium of figures issued recently by the independent provider of official health and social care statistics, the Information Centre (The IC) show how hospital admissions specifically related to alcohol consumption have more than doubled in the last 10 years. In 2005/06, there were 187,640 NHS hospital admissions among adults aged 16 and over with either a primary or secondary diagnosis specifically related to alcohol. This has increased from 89,280 in 1995/96.In its alcohol statistics bulletin, the most comprehensive and up to date compendium of facts and figures about alcohol consumption in England, the IC also found that:

– Among children under 16 there were 5,280 NHS Hospital admissions in 2005/06 with either a primary or secondary diagnosis specifically related to alcohol. This represents an overall increase of just over a third from 3,870 in 1995/96.

– In 2005, 6,570 people died from causes directly linked to alcohol consumption, of these just under two thirds (4,160) died from alcoholic liver disease. Two thirds (67 per cent) of those dying from alcoholic liver disease were men.

– In England in 2005, 73 per cent of men and 58 per cent of women reported drinking an alcoholic drink on at least one day in the week prior to interview. Thirteen per cent of men and 8 per cent of women reported drinking on every day in the previous week.

– Thirty-four per cent of men and 20 per cent of women had drunk more than the recommended number of units on at least one day in the week prior to interview. Eighteen per cent of men and 8 per cent of women had drunk more than twice the recommended daily intake.

– Older people were more likely to drink regularly – 28 per cent of men and 18 per cent of women aged 45-64 drank on five or more days in the week prior to interview compared to 10 per cent of men and 5 per cent of women aged 16-24. Younger people were more likely to drink heavily, with 42 per cent of men and 36 per cent of women aged 16-24 drinking above the daily recommendations compared to 16 per cent of men and 4 per cent of women aged 65 and over.

– Among men, 24 per cent reported drinking on average more than 21 units in a week. For women, 13 per cent reported drinking more than 14 units in an average week.

The bulletin also looked at awareness of the Government’s alcohol warnings and found that whilst 69 per cent of people reported that they had heard of the government guidelines on alcohol consumption, of these people, more than a third said that they did not know what the recommendations were. Thirty two per cent of adults however had seen units of alcohol displayed on labels of alcoholic drinks, compared to 23 per cent in 2000.

In England in 2005, 45 per cent of pregnant women did not drink at all during pregnancy, while 39 per cent reported drinking on average less than 1 unit a week and only 8 per cent drank 1 to 2 units

Alcohol is more affordable than ever according to the figures. In 2006, alcohol was 65 per cent more affordable than it was in 1980. Household expenditure on alcohol has increased steadily since 1980 as has total household expenditure; however expenditure on alcohol as a proportion of total household expenditure has decreased steadily over the same period standing at 5.2 per cent in 2006 compared to 7.5 per cent in 1980.
In 2004, the Government estimated that alcohol misuse costs the health service between £1.4 and £1.7 billion per year.

Commenting on the figures, Professor Denise Lievesley, Chief Executive of The Information Centre, says: “These figures show some worrying trends about the effects on society of consuming excessive amounts of alcohol. The doubling of alcohol related hospital admissions and increases in serious illness and death caused by alcohol gives cause for concern. We hope Government and other policy makers will use these figures to inform the development and implementation of policies to help reduce the harm that excessive alcohol consumption can cause.”

You can find the full report on our website

  1. The Information Centre (The IC) is England’s authoritative, independent source of health and social care information. It works with more than 300 health and social care providers nationwide to provide the facts and figures that help the NHS and social services run effectively. Its role is to collect data, analyse it and convert it into useful information which helps providers improve their services and supports academics, researcher, regulators and policymakers in their work. The IC also produces more than 120 statistical publications each year across a number of areas including: primary care, health and lifestyles, screening, hospital care, population and geography, social care and workforce and pay statistics.
  2. This statistical bulletin presents a range of information on alcohol use and misuse which are drawn together from a variety of sources. The bulletin aims to present a broad picture of health issues relating to alcohol in England and covers topics such as drinking habits and behaviours among adults and school children, drinking in pregnancy, European comparisons of alcohol use, drinking related ill health and mortality and alcohol related costs. Government plans and recommendations in this area are also summarised in the bulletin. For the first time the bulletin includes information on types of alcohol consumed, whether adults keep a check on the units they consume and trends in reported household consumption. For children, the bulletin now includes data on drinking and substance use and truancy and exclusion, as well as ethnicity and European comparisons.

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