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338,000 admitted to hospital as a result of alcohol in 2017/18

There were 338,000 admissions to hospital in 2017/18 where the main cause was due to drinking alcohol, according to new figures published today.

The figures, which have been published as part of Statistics on Alcohol, England 2019 reveal that this was similar to 2016/171 and 15% higher than a decade ago. Alcohol related admissions still account for a similar percentage of overall hospital admissions (2.1% in 2017/18, 2.1% in 2016/17 and 2.3% in 2007/08).

This is based on the narrow measure2 where an alcohol-related disease, injury or condition was the primary reason for a hospital admission or there was an alcohol-related external cause. A broader measure that looks at a range of other conditions that could be caused by alcohol shows 1.2 million admissions in 2017/18 although due to improvements in coding this is less comparable through time.

People aged 45 or over accounted for 69% of admissions where the main cause was due to alcohol.

Other statistics included in the report show:

  • There were 5,800 alcohol-specific deaths3 in 2017, which was 6% higher than 2016 and an increase of 16% on 2007.
  • Alcoholic liver disease accounted for 80% of the alcohol specific deaths in 20174.
  • 21% of people aged 16 and over drank more than 14 units of alcohol a week5 in 2017.
  • Adults in higher income households were more likely to drink over 14 units in a usual week (27%) than those in lower income households (15%) in 2017.
  • However, alcohol specific death rates were highest in the most deprived areas (30.1 deaths per 100,000 people for men and 13.5 for women), and lowest in the least deprived areas (7.0 deaths per 100,000 people for men and 4.0 for women).
  • Girls (11%) aged 11 to 15 were more likely to have been drunk in the last four weeks than boys (7%) in 20166.
  • 76,000 people were treated for problematic drinking in 2017/18, this was 6% lower than in 2016/177.

Newly published data in this compendium comes from the Public Health England Local Area Profiles for England, which uses data from NHS Digital’s Hospital Episode Statistics.


Read the full reports

Statistics on Alcohol, England, 2019

Local Alcohol Profiles for England, 2019

Notes to editors

  1. The difference is <1%.


  1. Estimates of the number of alcohol-related hospital admissions have been calculated by applying alcohol-attributable fractions (AAFs) based on a methodology developed by the North West Public Health Observatory (now part of Public Health England). This is the narrow measure - where an alcohol-related disease, injury or condition was the primary reason for a hospital admission or there was an alcohol-related external cause. The narrow measure is a better indicator of changes over time because it is less affected by improvements in recording of secondary diagnoses.
  2. Alcohol-specific deaths are published by the Office for National Statistics which uses the new National Statistics (NS) definition of alcohol-specific deaths. This definition only includes conditions where each death is a direct consequence of alcohol misuse. It is primarily based on chronic (longer-term) conditions associated with continued misuse of alcohol and, to a lesser extent, acute (immediate) conditions. Public Health England (PHE) produces estimates for both alcohol-specific and alcohol-related deaths at local authority level. Alcohol-related estimates, which include partially attributable deaths, are higher than the ONS figures for alcohol-specific deaths. More information on the impact of the new definition is available on the ONS website.
  3. A further 1,659 deaths were due to unspecified hepatitis and fibrosis and cirrhosis of the liver. These deaths are not defined as alcohol-specific deaths.
  4. This accounted for 28% of men and 14% of women. The source for this data is Health Survey for England, 2017.
  5. The source for this data is Smoking, Drinking and Drug Use Among Young People, 2016.
  6. The source for this data is Adult substance misuse statistics from the National Drug Treatment Monitoring System (NDTMS), 2017-2018. These treatment centres include, community-based specialist drug and alcohol services, primary care services, residential rehabilitation centres and inpatient units.

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