Thursday 16 October 2014

Alcohol-related NHS admissions up by 1,000 per cent in three years. Allegedly.

From the archives:
BBC, 14 February 2011:The number of admissions to hospital in the UK because of problem drinking could rise to 1.5 million a year by 2015, a charity says.

Alcohol Concern estimates that it will cost the NHS £3.7bn annually if nothing is done to stop the increase... The charity says the number of people being treated in hospital for alcohol misuse has gone from 500,000 in 2002-3 to 1.1 million in 2009-10.

BBC, 26 May 2011:The number of alcohol-related hospital admissions in England has topped 1m for the first time, according to official statistics.

An NHS Information Centre report said admissions had increased by 12% between 2008/9 and 2009/10... The number of admissions reached 1,057,000 in 2009/10 compared with 945,500 in 2008/9 and 510,800 in 2002/3.

From The Daily Mirror, yesterday:

Heavy boozers are putting the NHS under “intolerable strain” and risk sparking a health crisis which will cost the country billions, a charity claimed yesterday. Alcohol Concern said 9.9million NHS admissions in England – including hospital patients and clinic and A&E visits – were related to alcohol last year...

While A&E admissions accounted for six in 10 alcohol-related hospital visits, inpatient admissions were responsible for almost two thirds of the total cost burden of £2.8 billion, according to the charity.

Way to go!

Wild estimate of alcohol-related admissions revised up from one million to ten million in the space of three years, but somehow the wild estimate of cost has drifted down from £3.7 billion to £2.8 billion.

They mention lots of figures for the cost of treatment of very specific ailments, but those are in the millions, not billions, so barely worth adding up.

NB, that £2.8 billion is less than three per cent of the total NHS budget and only a small fraction of total revenues from taxes on booze.


View from the Solent said...

Mark, don't forget that those 'problem drinking' figures are bullshit anyway. Go to A&E with an injury from tripping on a protruding bit of pavement and you're recorded as x% alcohol-related.
Remember this? (you commented in it)

Ian Hills said...

I thought it was the thin edge of the wedge when they said they might not treat "obese" people"......

A K Haart said...

"Wild estimate of alcohol-related admissions revised up from one million to ten million in the space of three years"

So in another three years it will be a hundred million. And three years after that... Yikes!

The Cowboy Online said...

I wonder if there's a cultural angle to this as well. My brother works for the ambulance service, in one of the most 'vibrant and culturally enriched' areas of the country, and being called out to drunken Eastern Europeans at all hours of the day is a large part of the workload.

Dinero said...

Good cross-referencing.

Mark Wadsworth said...

VFTS, the one million is BS, the ten million is BS, they just pluck a figure out of the air and justify it ex post.

IH, did they?

AKH, exactly. A billion. Meaning that each adult in the UK is an 'alcohol related admission' once a fortnight.

TCO, is that really true?

Din, thanks but I do these posts occasionally and each time they make up a new shock-horror statistic I check the previous made up shock-horror statistic.

Anonymous said...

Here's some interesting stuff:

From the Alcohol Concern website:

"The Alcohol Harm Map, produced by Alcohol Concern in partnership with the pharmaceutical company Lundbeck Ltd. The purpose of the map is to reveal the real harm and cost of alcohol at a local level, so that local authorities and local health providers can ensure that alcohol prevention and treatment services are available to those with drinking problems..."

From Lundbeck's website, one of their UK products is called Selincro (generic name nalmefene).

And from the website of NICE, the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (the government agency which recommends which products should be used by the NHS):

"NICE has been asked to appraise nalmefene for reducing alcohol consumption in people with alcohol dependence in a single technology appraisal. The expected date of publication of the appraisal is November 2014."

Perfect timing it seems...

Anonymous said...

I should clarify that the Alcohol Harm Map is where they say the figure of 9.9 million NHS admissions came from...