A new study published in the open access journal BMC Public Health here reveals stark increases in hospital admissions over a twelve-year period for England.

The study found that the number of hospital admissions related to alcohol increased from 201,298 in 2002/03 to 303,716 in 2013/14 (an increase of 51%). The increase in hospitalisations was largest for acute conditions, particularly emergency admissions for ‘intentional self-poisoning due to alcohol’ and ‘mental and behavioural disorders due to acute intoxication’ which both increased by more than double over the period.

Alcohol-related admissions were more common in the most deprived areas of England. Male admission rates for conditions wholly due to alcohol were over four times higher in the most deprived 20% of areas compared to the least deprived 20% of areas. For females, this figure was two and a half times larger. The relative level of inequality did, however, narrow over the period.

Dr Mark Green, who led the study, said “Our study is the first detailed exploration of how trends for alcohol-related conditions have varied by age, sex and deprivation for England”

“What surprised us most was that intentional self-poisoning due to alcohol were higher throughout the period for females particularly those aged 15-24. All other alcohol-related conditions were higher for males.”

“The increasing burden of alcohol placed on the NHS represents a pressing concern at a time when the NHS is dealing with scarce resources and increased demand from elsewhere. The scale of the problem, combined with the high costs involved in treating alcohol-related conditions (as well as the wider costs to society), suggest that public health preventive measures are imperative.”