Alcohol is causing more A&E admissions, according to new figures
Alcohol is causing more A&E admissions, according to new figures

A&E admissions caused by alcohol rise by 50 per cent in almost a decade

 Alcohol poisoning was most often seen in young women aged 15 to 19 years-old

Kashmira Gander
Tuesday 22 December 2015 10:07
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Hospital visits caused be alcohol have risen by more than 50 per cent in nine years, with the highest rate among young women, new figures have shown.

Statistics published by the Nuffield Trust, an independent body which aims to improve health care in the UK, also showed that the rate of people attending emergency departments with probably alcohol poisoning has doubled in six years.

Over nine years – from 2005/6 to 2013/14 – those admitted to hospital because of alcohol consumption rose by 63.6 per cent.

Within this group, A&E admissions rose by 53.9 per cent, from 374.9 per 100,000 population to 577.1 per 100,000 population.

During the six year period between 2008/9 to 2013/14, emergency hospital admissions likely caused by alcohol poisoning doubled from 72.7 per 100,000 of population to 148.8 per 100,000, amounting to a 104.6 per cent increase.

The highest rates of likely alcohol poisoning within this group were seen in those aged between 15 to 24. For young women aged 15 to 19 years-old, the rate was around one and half times higher than men in the same age group.

Rates of alcohol-related A&E visits were also higher in the North of England, and more than three and a half times higher in the 20 per cent most deprived areas in England.

The study also revealed that over half of all A&E attendances in 2013/14 likely to be due to alcohol poisoning took place on a Friday, Saturday or Sunday.

Researchers set out to study whether hospital activity linked to alcohol in England had increased, and to pinpoint socio-economic, demographic and regional patterns.

The true figures are likely to be more extreme, as the team assessed measures of hospital activity specific to alcohol, excluding conditions where alcohol was a contributing factor, such as falls, domestic violence or heart disease.

Joint author of the report Claire Currie said: “Our research has uncovered a picture of rising and avoidable activity in hospitals, representing a stark challenge for the health service at a time when it's already great pressure.

The symptoms of alcohol poisoning include confusion, vomiting, seizures, slow breathing, and cold, clammy pale-bluish skin caused by a drop in body temperature, according to the NHS.

Separate studies have shown that alcohol admissions have been reducing in Scotland and stabilising in Wales, the BBC News reported.

Despite the findings being linked to young drinkers, Jackie Ballard, of Alcohol Concern, told BBC News that there was cause for concern surrounding middle-aged and older people drinking above recommended limits, often in their own homes.

“These are the people who tend to require the most complex and expensive health care due to the mental and physical problems caused by drinking too much and alcohol's impact on the ageing body.

Additional reporting by PA

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