Reducing harm caused by alcohol


Alcohol related hospital admissions down but alcohol harm still too high

Statistics published today (19 March 2024) by Public Health Scotland show that there were 31,206 alcohol related hospital admissions (stays) in Scotland in 2022/23.

This represents a significant 11% reduction on hospital admissions in 2021/22 at 35,187.

In 2022/23, people in the most deprived areas were seven times more likely to be admitted to general acute hospitals for an alcohol-related condition than those in the least deprived areas.

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

Responding to the newly published alcohol related hospital admissions data, Alison Douglas, CEO of Alcohol Focus Scotland said:

“While welcome, this reduction in alcohol related hospital admissions is no cause for complacency. The level of admissions due to alcohol remains high and represents an entirely preventable burden on our already overstretched NHS.

“Worryingly, there is evidence of increasing inequality in these data, with people in our most deprived communities now seven times more likely to be hospitalised due to alcohol than those in our most well-off communities – compared with six times more likely in the previous year.

“The reduction in hospital admissions should also be viewed in context of increasing alcohol specific deaths in Scotland, up 25% over the last three years, even with the protective effect of minimum unit pricing.”

“We need to make full use of the internationally recognised policies which we know can make a difference to these levels of harm and to health inequalities. This has to start with reducing the affordability of alcohol. Earlier this week over 80 organisations from across Scotland and beyond supported our joint letter to the Scottish Parliament Health and Sport Committee calling for all parties to support the renewal and uprating of minimum unit to 65p per unit.

“Additionally, we need the Scottish Government to ensure that people with existing alcohol problems receive the support they need to reduce their drinking and to recover. However, prevention is better than cure, so we also need to see Government urgently adopt other important measures which will help reduce consumption such as restricting alcohol marketing and reducing the availability of alcohol.”