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Alcohol-related health indicators for England worsening

The Health and Social Care Information Centre (HSCIC) has published its latest Statistics on Alcohol England report today, showing across-the-board rises in the number of alcohol-related hospital admissions, deaths, and costs of items prescribed for alcohol dependence last year. The report’s infographics (shown below) illustrate the impacts of alcohol on the nation’s health in the last 12 months and beyond.

For hospital admissions, 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 (broad measure), 3% up on 2013/14. Men accounted for nearly two-thirds of the admissions, and Salford had the highest rate at 3,570 per 100,000 population, whereas Wokingham had the lowest rate at 1,270 (below). 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 (narrow measure). This is similar to 2013/14 and 32% higher than 2004/05.

Figure 1 

Mortality figures also increased over the same period. 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 (below).

 


 

The data indicated that more people were being treated for alcohol issues than ever before. 196,000 prescription items for alcohol dependence were dispensed in England in 2015, 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 and more than double the sum spent a decade ago (below).

 


 

However, amid the gloom there were more positive signs around the consumption habits of younger people. In 2014, 38% of secondary school pupils had ever drunk alcohol, the lowest proportion since the survey began when it was 62%.

Commenting on the new report, Professor Kevin Fenton, director of health and wellbeing at Public Health England said: "These figures show continuing positive trends with younger people drinking less.

"However, hospital admissions and deaths from alcohol related illnesses and injuries continue to increase every year among adults in England, with men disproportionately affected. Many of these illnesses, such as heart disease and cancer, are experienced by people who may be unaware that their drinking is damaging their health.

"Public Health England will continue to work with national and local partners on measures to reduce alcohol harms and through campaigns like ‘One You’, we’re also encouraging people to lead healthier lifestyles."