Alcohol-related harm is placing increasing demands on the NHS. At a time when unprecedented efficiencies need to be made by the NHS and local authorities, preventative action must be taken seriously. This analysis explores trends in alcohol-specific activity in hospitals in England. The analysis also explores the use of hospital services before and after a diagnosis of alcohol-related liver disease (ALRD) and highlights opportunities for preventative action to reduce future alcohol-related harm in England.
Alcohol misuse costs the UK economy an estimated £7.3 billion per year. In England alone, estimates suggest that over 15,000 people die from alcohol-related illnesses each year.
The costs to the NHS of alcohol-related harm arise from a number of areas. For example, up to 35% of all Accident & Emergency (A&E) attendance and ambulance costs may be alcohol related. In 2013/14, over a million hospital admissions were as a consequence of an alcohol-related diagnosis, and this figure is increasing. The effect is not only evident in hospital care, with 22 to 35% of GP visits estimated to be related to alcohol. The true impact of alcohol on the health service is likely to be even higher than this.
This report analyses both trends in A&E visits and trends in hospital admissions that are attributable to alcohol-specific activities. Based on the findings it explores opportunities for preventative action.