The number of alcohol-related hospital admissions in England has exceeded one million in a year for the first time.

Figures show that the number of drink-induced hospital visits has more than doubled since 2003, with a 12 per cent year-on-year increase between April 2009 and March 2010 pushing the total to 1,057,000.

Data compiled by the NHS Information Centre showed higher admission rates for older adults than their younger counterparts, while men accounted for 63 per cent of the admissions. The report also disclosed that prescriptions for alcohol dependency cost the NHS £2.41m last year. The cost was highest in the North-west and the North-east, and lowest in London.

Chris Sorek, chief executive of the alcohol awareness charity Drinkaware, said: "Alcohol-related hospital admissions exceeding one million represents a worrying landmark in the impact alcohol is having on UK society. Anyone requiring hospital treatment for alcohol- related illness is a cause for concern, and with increasing admissions in all age groups from 16 to 75-plus it's clear we cannot afford to rest on our laurels."

However, David Poley, chief executive of the drinks industry body the Portman Group, claimed the figures showed that reducing alcohol consumption was not helping. "It is surprising that hospital admissions have apparently doubled over a period in which alcohol consumption has significantly declined," he said.

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