Reducing harm caused by alcohol


Alcohol hospital admissions continue to be too high

Statistics published today (28 February 2023) by Public Health Scotland show there were 35,187 alcohol-related hospital admissions (stays) in Scotland in 2021/22.

In 2021/22, the rate of alcohol-related hospital admissions was similar to that of 2020/21 but 10% lower than the rate in 2019/20. Public Health Scotland note that the COVID-19 pandemic and measures put in place are likely to have contributed to the decrease since 2019/20.

In 2021/22, people in the most deprived areas were six times more likely to be admitted to general acute hospitals for an alcohol-related condition than those in the least deprived area.

Men were 2.3 times more likely than women to be admitted to general acute hospitals for alcohol-related conditions. 

In response to the figures Alison Douglas, chief executive of Alcohol Focus Scotland said, “Someone is admitted to hospital for an alcohol-related condition every 15 minutes and most of these are emergency admissions. Urgent action is needed to prevent this damage to people’s health and to reduce this avoidable strain on our NHS.  

“Of particular concern is the rise in the number of people going to hospital for the first time due to alcohol-related liver disease. Given the poor long-term prognosis for many of these patients there is a very real risk that the appalling increase in deaths from alcohol over the last two years will continue.

“We need the Scottish Government to commit to ensuring that people with alcohol problems receive the support they need to recover but also to redouble their efforts to prevent problems in the first place by adopting internationally recognised policies to reduce consumption and harm, including restrictions on marketing.

“Implementing restrictions on alcohol marketing is one way to reduce how much we are drinking. Evidence from other countries has shown that restrictions on alcohol marketing are possible to implement, and make a difference, while having a limited impact on the alcohol industry itself.”