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Scots’ alcohol-related hospital discharges down, but health inequalities remain

The latest NHS Scotland figures show a consistent downtrend trend in alcohol-related discharges from Scotland’s general acute hospitals, however the proportion of patients from deprived areas remains significantly high.
 
In 2012/13, there were 35,926 alcohol-related discharges involving 24,266 patients, a European age-standardised rate (EASR) of 693 discharges per 100,000 population. This represents a 7.5% decrease in rates and a 7.3% decrease in absolute numbers compared to the previous year (2011/12), when there were 38,776 alcohol-related discharges (749/100,000).

These figures form part of a wider downtrend nationally since 2008; alcohol-related discharge rates decreased by 16% from 828 discharges per 100,000 population in 2008/09 to 693 discharges per 100,000 population in 2012/13.

However, the latest data highlight persisting disparities in alcohol-related discharge rates between socioeconomic groups; the rate of alcohol-related general acute hospital discharges between 2008/09 and 2012/13 was approximately six to seven times greater for patients living in the most deprived areas compared to those living in the least deprived areas. This is despite the most deprived quintile experiencing the largest drop in discharge rates of all cohorts over the five year-period (22%), from 1,910 per 100,000 population in 2008/09 to 1,487 per 100,000 population in 2012/13 – a drop of 22%.

The full report and data tables can be found on the ISD Scotland Drugs & Alcohol Misuse Publications webpage.