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Drinking alcohol was the main reason for 358,000 admissions to hospital in 2018/19 according to new figures published by NHS Digital today.
The number of admissions is 6% higher than 2017/18 and 19% higher than a decade ago, according to the Statistics on Alcohol, England 2020.
Alcohol-related admissions accounted for 2% of overall hospital admissions, which is the same rate as 2017/18.
Men accounted for 62% of alcohol admissions, while 40% of patients were aged between 45 and 64.
These figures are based on the narrow measure1 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 1.3 million admissions in 2018/19, this is an 8% increase on 2017/18 and represents 7% of all hospital admissions.
This report also presents a range of information on alcohol use and misuse by adults and children drawn together from a variety of sources.
Other figures included in the report show:
- There were 5,698 deaths specifically attributed to alcohol2 in 2018, this is 2% fewer than in 2017
- 77% of alcohol related deaths happened in people aged 40 to 69
- 38% of men and 19% of women aged 55 to 64 usually drank over 14 units of alcohol in a week3
- The average household spent £8.70 per week on alcohol in 2017/184
- People aged 65 to 74 had the highest average weekly alcohol spend of £10.60 a week4.
This report contains newly published data from the Public Health England Local Alcohol Profiles for England, which uses data from NHS Digital’s Hospital Episode Statistics.
Read the full report
Notes for editors
- 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.
- 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.
- The source of this information is Health Survey for England 2018
- Information on purchases and expenditure on alcohol have been taken from Family Food which is published by Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (DEFRA), and is based on data collected by the Living Costs and Food Survey.
NHS Digital is the national information and technology partner of the health and care system. Our team of information analysis, technology and project management experts create, deliver and manage the crucial digital systems, services, products and standards upon which health and care professionals depend. During the 2018/19 financial year, NHS Digital published 275 statistical reports. Our vision is to harness the power of information and technology to make health and care better.
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