Drink related hospital stays on the rise

Introducing a minimum unit price for alcohol could save lives, experts say.
Introducing a minimum unit price for alcohol could save lives, experts say.
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Scotland has seen an increase in the number of people hospitalised for alcohol abuse with a total of 36,235 admissions last year.

NHS statistics also revealed rising numbers of admissions for those will liver disease as well as a divide showing people from poor backgrounds are more likely to require hospital treatment for drink related problems than those from rich areas.

The figures from the NHS’s Information Services Division (ISD) showed that alcohol related stay rate per 100,000 population in general acute hospitals was 685.2, compared with 673.2 the previous year.

Admissions to hospital for alcohol-related liver disease rose for the fourth consecutive year.

In 2016/17 there were 140.0 patients admitted with liver disease, a figure that almost reached the peak of 140.1 recorded in 2007/08 and which was the highest recorded since 1997/98.

The rate of alcohol-related stays in psychiatric hospitals in 2015/16 is unchanged from previous year (2014/15) at 54.4 per 100,000 population.

There is a difference in the pattern of alcohol-related admissions by deprivation. In the general acute setting in 2016/17, there were nearly eight times as many people (per 100,000 population) admitted from the most deprived areas compared to the least deprived areas.

In the psychiatric setting in 2015/16, the difference was more pronounced, with just over 15 times as many people from the most deprived areas.

Lib Dem health spokesman Alex Cole-Hamilton said: “These numbers show that Scotland continues to have an unhealthy relationship with alcohol, with 100 people a day admitted to hospital. 

“In excess alcohol hurts individuals, families and communities while alcohol-related admissions put immense pressure on our hardworking NHS staff. This is especially shocking when you see that admission rates are nearly 8 times higher for people from the most deprived areas compared to the least deprived areas. 

“The Scottish Government has belatedly recognised Liberal Democrat calls to reverse their damaging 20% cut to drug and alcohol support services but there is much more to do. Now we finally have the go ahead for minimum unit pricing I urge the Government to act swiftly and put it into practice as part of a new push to win the battle with the bottle” 

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