The upward trend of alcohol-related hospital admissions passed 1 million per year in 2010, official figures show. The newly released Statistics on Alcohol: England, 2011 report states:
'In 2009/10 there were around 1,057,000 admissions related to alcohol consumption where an alcohol-related disease, injury or condition was the primary reason for hospital admission or a secondary diagnosis. This is a 12% increase on the 2008/09 figure, where there were 945,500 such admissions and over double the number in 2002/03 when there were around 510,800 admissions.'
Responding to the figures, Alcohol Concern's Don Shenker warned of a continued rise in admissions, speaking out on "government's ongoing failure to tackle the root causes of alcohol misuse". Earlier this year Alcohol Concern projected alcohol admissions would hit 1.5 million by 2015 if further investment in alcohol is not prioritised. Shenker called for minimum pricing, improved treatment and a more radical licensing overhaul.
However the report highlights many areas of alcohol consumption as falling, including an overall decline in weekly consumption and fewer people binge drinking. Within alcohol policy debates industry figures have continued to highlight falling consumption since 2004. According to the Independent, David Poley of the Portman Group said the figures proved that reducing consumption was not the answer to addressing alcohol-related harm. However a clear understanding of the exact relationship and time lag between consumption changes and admissions appears unclear.
Some further key facts from the report include:
- In England, in 2009, 69 per cent of men and 55 per cent of women (aged 16 and over) reported drinking an alcoholic drink on at least one day in the week.
- 10 per cent of men and 6 per cent of women reported drinking on every day in the previous week.
- There has been an increase from 54 per cent in 1997 to 75 per cent in 2009 in the percentage of people in Great Britain who had heard of daily drinking limits
- In 2007, 33% of men and 16% of women (24% of adults) were classified as hazardous drinkers. This includes 6% of men and 2% of women estimated to be harmful ['higher risk'] drinkers.
- Among adults aged 16 to 74, 9% of men and 4% of women showed some signs of alcohol dependence.
- In 2009, there were 6,584 deaths directly related to alcohol. This is a 3% decrease on the 2008 figure, but an increase of 20% on the 2001 figure.
- Total alcohol consumption has decreased by 39% from 733 millilitres of alcohol per person per week in 2001/02 to 446 ml per person per week in 2009. (The report explains that this reduction is mainly due to a 45% decrease in the volume of beer purchases from 623 ml to 342 ml per person per week over the same period).
- It is estimated that the cost of alcohol-related harm to the NHS in England is £2.7 billion in 2006/07 prices.
Local and national alcohol-related data can be accessed from the Local Alcohol Profiles for England.