NHS alcohol-related admissions near 10 million

By Ellie Bothwell

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Local government Alcoholic beverage Alcoholism

The report claims that 9.6 million people in England are now drinking in excess of Government guidelines
The report claims that 9.6 million people in England are now drinking in excess of Government guidelines
The total number of alcohol-related NHS admissions hit almost 10 million during 2012-13, according to new figures from Alcohol Concern.

The charity said this figure – which includes inpatient, outpatient and A&E visits in England – is leading to an “intolerable strain” on the health service and there are a significant number of conditions where alcohol plays an “underappreciated part”.

The body’s newly updated Alcohol Harm Map also claims that while A&E admissions accounted for six in every ten alcohol-related hospital visit, inpatient admissions were responsible for almost two thirds of the total cost burden.

The map also outlines the conditions where alcohol is a significant contributory factor to demonstrate the wider health and financial impact of “unsafe drinking”.

It states:

  • 9.6 million people in England are now drinking in excess of Government guidelines, of whom 2.4 million are classed as ‘high risk’
  • The cost of inpatient admissions partly attributable to alcohol was £1.3bn, almost three times greater than the cost of those which were wholly attributable (£518m).
  • There was a £708m cost to the NHS for hypertensive disease inpatient admissions attributable to alcohol consumption alone
  • Alcohol is attributable for almost half of all head and neck cancer inpatient admissions at a cost to the NHS of £65.3m
  • Just over 13% of all malignant neoplasm of breast inpatient admissions were attributable to alcohol, at a cost to the NHS of £27.1m

Alcohol Concern chief executive Jackie Ballard said: “The NHS is now facing an intolerable strain from alcohol-related illnesses. This is not just from readily-identifiable causes such as A&E visits and admissions for liver disease, but from a significant number of other conditions in which alcohol plays a major, but often underappreciated part.

“We need to ensure adequate alcohol care pathways are prioritised and appropriate services are put in place to ease this burden. However, we also urgently need action to prevent alcohol misuse; the first and most effective of which is for the government to implement a minimum unit price, which has the potential to save the economy millions, and most importantly save lives."


The Alcohol Harm Map​ was produced by Alcohol Concern in partnership with the pharmaceutical company Lundbeck Ltd.

Alcohol Concern said the purpose of the map is to “reveal the real harm and cost of alcohol at a local level, so that local authorities and local health providers can ensure that alcohol prevention and treatment services are available to those with drinking problems”.

The map includes data, by each local authority and Clinical Commissioning Group area for: alcohol-related healthcare costs, broken down by age and gender; alcohol-related hospital admissions, broken down by age and gender; alcohol-related deaths; number of people drinking too much; and the impact of alcohol upon selected conditions.

Last month, leading pub industry figures called for the Government to produce more accurate and balanced statistics on alcohol, after claiming recent council reports include “flawed” data that amount to “meaningless propaganda”.

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