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4 February 2020

Addaction responds to new NHS statistics showing increasing alcohol related hospital admissions

New statistics (released 04/01/2020) from NHS Digital relating to alcohol harms in England in 2018/19 were released at 9:30 this morning. They show the following:

There were 358,000 admissions to hospital in 2018/19 where the main reason was due to drinking alcohol, 6% higher than 2017/18.

There were 5,698 alcohol-specific deaths in 2018. An increase of 7% since 2008.

Men and women aged 55 to 64 had the highest proportions usually drinking over 14 units in a week.

Laura Bunt, acting CEO of Addaction said:

“In 2018 the UK government announced it would be creating a new, stand-alone alcohol strategy. But this January the promise was quietly rolled back. These statistics show that a new approach is needed. 

“Historically one of the biggest barriers to comprehensive alcohol strategies has been a reluctance to put people above profits. We know that Minimum Unit Pricing, which sets a price below which a unit of alcohol can’t be legally sold, has been effective in reducing alcohol consumption. In Scotland alcohol sales have hit a 25 year low since it was introduced in 2018. 

“While there needs to be a national strategy, we can see from these statistics that the group most at risk are older adults. We've learnt from our services that as people age, big life events such as divorce, bereavement, financial issues or even retirement can leave people feeling isolated and unable to cope. What’s more, harmful alcohol use among older adults is often a hidden problem, with many drinking at home alone instead of out and socialising. Any alcohol strategy needs to recognise the specific needs of this group and tackle the reasons why someone might be drinking more instead of just the drinking itself.

“If you are worried about someone, one of the best things you can do is let them know you’re there to listen. This may encourage them to reach out and access support. The first step to getting help can be to speak to your GP and find out what services are available in your area. Alternatively, people can access anonymous support through speaking to a trained advisor via Addaction’s webchat.”