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Alcohol-related hospital admissions soar

Hospital admissions specifically related to alcohol have more than doubled in England since 1995, according to an NHS Information Centre report published today.

And the number of prescription items dispensed in primary care to treat alcohol dependency has increased by 20% in the last four years.

The report shows that alcohol was either the primary or secondary cause of 207,800 NHS admissions in 2006/7, compared to 93,500 in 1995/96.

A total of 112,300 items were prescribed in primary care to treat alcohol dependency in 2007, compared to 93,200 in 2003.

The report also shows:

  • In 2006/7 there were 57,100 admissions with a primary diagnosis specifically related to alcohol, such as alcoholic liver disease, a 52% rise since 1995/96.
  • Of these admissions, 4,900 (9%) involved patients aged under 18.
  • There were 6,500 alcohol-related deaths in 2006, of which two thirds were men. This is a 19% rise in the number of alcohol-related deaths compared to 2001, when there were 5,500 deaths.

The report, which brings together information on alcohol related behaviour, illness and spending, also includes survey results from school pupils aged 11-15 and adults in England.

The number of pupils who said they had never had an alcoholic drink increased from 39% in 2001 to 45% in 2006. But those who admitted drinking consumed 11.4 units per week on average - the highest ever recorded by the survey.

In 2006, 72% of men and 57% of women reported drinking an alcoholic drink on at least one day in the week before interview. Twelve percent of men and 7% of women reported drinking every day in the previous week.

Tim Straughan, Chief Executive of the NHS Information Centre, said: "This report shows alcohol is placing an increasing burden right across the NHS - from the GP surgery to the hospital bed. These rises paint a worrying picture about the relationship between the population and the bottle."

A full copy of the report can be found by clicking here