Alcohol causes almost one million hospital admissions

There were almost one million alcohol related hospital admissions in England last year, representing a 65 per cent increase over the past five years.

The shocking figure means that almost two people were admitted to hospital for alcohol related harm every minute.

The figures also show that alcohol was to blame for almost 16,000 deaths last year.

Crime

The Local Alcohol Profiles for England report showed that in the year ending March 2009 there were a staggering 954,469 admissions due to alcohol.

And the report, which was released yesterday, also showed that more than 400,000 brawls, burglaries, sexual assaults and other crimes were fuelled by drunkenness.

The figures are the latest indictment of Labour’s failed 24-hour drinking laws, and are likely to increase pressure for tighter controls on the sale of alcohol.

Professor Mark Bellis, one of the report’s authors, said: “The price we pay for turning a blind eye to the real extent of alcohol abuse across England is reflected in the new Local Alcohol Profiles for England and it is a price that is paid especially by the poorest communities.”

Irresponsible

He continued: “It is time to recognise that we are not a population of responsible drinkers with just a hand full of irresponsible individuals ruining it for others.”

“We need to see the real cost of alcohol reflected in the price it is sold at and the warnings about the dangers that alcohol represents not relegated into a tiny corner in alcohol adverts, but written large enough for people to recognise the seriousness of the risks,” Prof Bellis added.

And Chris Sorek, Chief Executive of the alcohol charity Drinkaware, said: “These statistics only reinforce the urgent need for us to act to tackle the harms caused by alcohol misuse.

“Regardless of why someone is admitted, the root cause of why people drink to the point of needing medical treatment must be addressed head on.”

Unacceptable

Health Minister Lord Howe said: “Levels of alcohol-related hospital admissions, crime, ill-health and deaths are unacceptable and we have already outlined our commitment to tackling the problem by taking action to stop the sale of alcohol below cost, to review alcohol taxation and price, and introducing a tougher licensing regime.”

The report was compiled using statistics from the Department of Health and the Home Office.

Failed

In July Theresa May, the Home Secretary, warned that Labour’s 24-hour drinking laws had failed.

Mrs May’s comments came as the Home Office announced a consultation to give communities a greater say over alcohol licences.

Fines for those who persistently sell booze to children would be doubled to £20,000 under the proposals.

And councils could be given powers to charge more for late-night licences. The Government says this would help pay for more policing.

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