The annual Statistics on Alcohol for England 2016 has been released, detailing national data for key alcohol-related indicators and health harms.
Mainly bringing together previously reported alcohol data releases, the current trend picture remains one of still rising alcohol harms overall - particularly hospital admissions (broad measure) and deaths.
However current harm trends may start to plateua (as seen in the 'narrow' admissions measure) or indeed fall over coming years in response to a period of falling consumption through 2004 - 2014. Consumption though has declined most significantly amongst children and young people rather than amongst older adults, with significant regional variations also evident across the different measures.
Key headlines from the release include:
- In 2014/15 there were 1.1 million estimated admissions where an alcohol-related disease, injury or condition was the primary reason for admission or a secondary diagnosis. This is 3% more than 2013/14.
- Men accounted for nearly two-thirds of the admissions.
- There were 333 thousand estimated admissions where an alcohol-related disease, injury or condition was the primary diagnosis or there was an alcohol-related external cause. This is similar to 2013/14 and 32% higher than 2004/05.
- Blackpool had the highest rate at 1,220 per 100,000 population. Wokingham the lowest rate at 380.
- In 2014, there were 6,831 deaths which were related to the consumption of alcohol. This is an increase of 4% on 2013 and an increase of 13% on 2004.
[NB Age standardised death rates actually show a fall in recent years].Prescriptions
- 196 thousand prescription items were dispensed in England in 2015, which is 1% higher than in 2014 and nearly double the level ten years ago.
- The total Net Ingredient Cost (NIC) for items prescribed for alcohol dependence in 2015 was £3.93 million which is 15% higher than in 2014.
- 28.9 million people in Great Britain report drinking alcohol in the previous week. This equates to 58% of the population.
- In 2014, 38% of secondary school pupils had ever drunk alcohol, the lowest proportion since the survey began when it was 62%.
ONS reports getting shorter...
The latest national statistics report includes brief commentary and tables, but detailed assessment of the data requires visiting the various source reports as listed in appendices document [pdf], which also provides a list of current 'cross-departmental' alcohol policies - perhaps useful given the uncertainty over national alcohol policy. This is in contrast to earlier versions of the report, such as the 2012 edition, which contained far more extensive detailing of the data and context. This is likely to refelect cuts announced to the ONS statistical products announced in 2013. However stakeholders may primarily be concerned that the core data is still collected, particularly given the significance of consumption and harm figures in policy debates.