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Reducing harm caused by alcohol

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Alcohol related hospital admissions for 2018 to 2019

On November 19 2019 ISD published Alcohol-Related Hospital Statistics in Scotland for 2018/19.

In response to the statistics, Alison Douglas, chief executive of Alcohol Focus Scotland said, 

"It’s disappointing that the overall level of hospitalisations in 2018/19 has remained similar to the previous year.  However, beneath the headline figure there are indications that both the number of admissions and the number of people admitted due to alcoholic liver disease have decreased. Alcoholic liver disease is one of the alcohol-related health-harms that is most responsive to changes in consumption.

“The MESAS Monitoring report data published in June this year showed that consumption had reduced by 3% in 2018. This gives cause for optimism that minimum unit pricing appears to be having an effect on consumption and this should translate into improvements in health and well-being going forward.

“Given the very high levels of consumption and associated problems in Scotland we need to continue our efforts to turn the tide of alcohol related harm.  Action to control availability and restrict marketing are also required if we are to change Scotland’s relationship with alcohol for good.”

The key findings from the ISD statisitcs are:

  • In 2018/19 there were 38,370 alcohol-related hospital admissions (stays) in general acute and psychiatric hospitals in Scotland, similar to the previous year (38,199). The vast majority of patients (93%) admitted with alcohol-related conditions are treated in general acute hospitals (35,685) with a further 2,685 patients in psychiatric hospitals.
  • The 35,685 admissions to general acute hospitals relate to 23,751 patients some of whom had multiple admissions to hospital. Around half of these patients (12,033) were admitted for the first time for alcohol-related conditions.
  • Considering the long term trend since 1981/82, there was a steep and sustained increase in general acute alcohol-related hospital admissions until 2007/08 reaching a rate of 855 admissions per 100,000 population; this has now fallen to 669 per 100,000 population.
  • Men were 2.5 times more likely than women to be admitted to general acute hospitals for alcohol-related conditions (971 per 100,000 population compared to 377).
  • 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 areas (1,059 per 100,000 population compared to 167).

Read the full report.