Healthy living

Alcohol related hospital admissions top 1 million

Alcohol related hospital admissions top 1M Record levels in England

The number of alcohol-related hospital admissions in England has topped one million, new figures show.

During 2009/10, some 1,057,000 people ended up in hospital as a result of drinking alcohol. This is up 12 per cent on the 2008/09 figure (945,500) and more than twice as many as in 2002-03 (510,800).

Two out of three admissions were men.

Among all adults there were more hospital admissions in the older age groups than in the younger age groups.

In 2009, there were 6,584 deaths directly related to alcohol, the majority from alcoholic liver disease.

The new report from the NHS Information Centre also revealed that in 2010, alcohol dependency cost the NHS £2.41million a year in prescription items, an increase of 1.4 per cent from 2009, but up 40 per cent since 2003.

There were 160,181 drug prescriptions to treat alcohol dependency in primary care settings or NHS hospitals and dispensed in the community in 2010. This is an increase of six per cent on 2009 (150,445) and an increase of 56 per cent since 2003 (102,741).

The proportion of alcohol-related prescription items issued was highest in the North West of England with 515 items per 100,000 of the population, followed by the North East, with 410 items per 100,000 people, and lowest in London, with 130 items per 100,000 people.

The overall cost to the NHS of all alcohol related harm is estimated to be more than £2.7 billion per year.

Tim Straughan, chief executive at the NHS Information Centre, said: “Today's report shows the number of people admitted to hospital each year for alcohol related problems has topped 1 million for the first time.

"The report also highlights the increasing cost of alcohol dependency to the NHS as the number of prescription items dispensed continues to rise.

“This report provides health professionals and policy makers with a useful picture of the health issues relating to alcohol use and misuse.

"It also highlights the importance of policy makers and health professionals in recognising and tackling alcohol misuse which in turn could lead to savings for the NHS.”

This article was published on Thu 26 May 2011

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