The latest annual statistics on alcohol for England 2013 have been released, confirming a continuing rise in alcohol-related and primary alcohol attributable hospital conditions. Alcohol-related admissions rose 4% on the previous year with primary diagnosis conditions up 1%. Prescribed drugs for treating alcohol dependence were up 6%. Download the full report here (pdf).
This comes despite falls since 2004 in the proportion of adults reporting drinking alcohol. Continuing admissions - many being long term conditions - are linked to decades of rising consumption prior to 2004. A useful interactive Guardian data blog includes a table which allows admission types to be selected. Related acute admissions such as violence or accidents and injuries show falling or more stable trends, whereas long-term conditions such as cardiac, hypertensive or cardiac admissions show clear upwards trends.
Key findings from the report:
- In 2011/12, there were an estimated 1,220,300 admissions related to alcohol consumption where an alcohol-related disease, injury or condition was the primary reason for hospital admission or a secondary diagnosis (broad measure). This is an increase of 4% on the 2010/11 figure (1,168,300) and more than twice as many as in 2002/03 (510,700).
- In 2011/12, there were 200,900 admissions where the primary diagnosis was attributable to the consumption of alcohol. This is a 1% increase since 2010/11 when there were 198,900 admissions of this type and a 41% increase since 2002/03 when there were around 142,000 such admissions.
- In 2012, there were 178,247 prescription items prescribed for the treatment of alcohol dependence in primary care settings or NHS hospitals and dispensed in the community. This is an increase of 6% on the 2011 figure (167,764) and an increase of 73% on the 2003 figure (102,741). The Net Ingredient Cost (NIC) of these prescriptions was £2.93 million in 2012.
The report also identifies that on-trade alcohol sales in particular have fallen by 46% over 10 years, whereas off-trade sales have risen by 32% overall since 1992. Alcohol is also 62% more afordable than in 1980.
The report also provides a comprehensive overview of alcohol related health and consumption data including regional breakdowns. It also covers knowledge and attitudes to alcohol amongst the adult population.
Media reports so far have focused on headlines such as the 50% rise over the last decade in overall alcohol-related admissions - Guardian - and a 75% increase in drug treatment prescriptions over the last 9 years - see BBC and Information Daily reports.