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Alcohol-related hospitals admissions double in a decade

Small increase in teetotalers since 2005

Adrian O'Dowd

Thursday, 25 June 2015

The number of alcohol-related hospital admissions in England has doubled in the past decade, according to figures published today by the Health and Social Care Information Centre (HSCIC).

However, there has been a small rise in people who do not drink alcohol at all across Great Britain, mostly due to less drinking amongst young people.

The HSCIC statistics show there were an estimated 1,059,210 alcohol-related admissions in 2013-14 in England, which was 115% higher than the 493,760 admissions in 2003-04.

The figures rose by 5% on last year’s 1,008,850 admissions, which are related to alcohol consumption where an alcohol-related disease, injury or condition was the primary reason for hospital admission or a secondary diagnosis.

Almost half (48%) of the admissions in 2013-14 were caused by cardiovascular disease, a rise of 7% compared to the year before and 66% more than a decade ago.

The HSCIC also found that there was a 1% rise in alcohol-related deaths in 2013 in England (6,592 deaths) compared to a year earlier, and a 10% increase compared to 10 years ago when there were 5,984 deaths.

Other rising trends included a 2% increase in alcohol-related admissions to hospital due to patients suffering from cancer compared to a year earlier and a 18% rise from a decade ago.

At the same time, there was a noticeable growth in people abstaining from alcohol as figures from Great Britain showed that 21% of adults said they did not drink alcohol at all in 2013, compared to 19% in 2005.

Young adults (aged 16 to 24) were primarily responsible for this change, with the proportion of young adults who reported that they do not drink alcohol at all increasing between 2005 and 2013.

Binge drinking amongst adults also fell from 18% in 2005 to 15% in 2013.

Professor Kevin Fenton, director of health and wellbeing at Public Health England said: “These new figures show some encouraging results, but the harms caused by alcohol in England remain worryingly high, leading to over 1 million hospital admissions every year.

“A lot of the ill health we are seeing associated with alcohol, such as heart disease and cancer, is among people who are not dependent, but who drink frequently and are unaware of the risks.

“Public Health England will continue to work with national and local partners on measures to reduce alcohol harms through raising awareness and providing effective local interventions and treatment for all who need them.”

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