This statistical report ‘NHS Statistics on Alcohol - England 2013’ published on 30th May acts as a reference point for health issues relating to alcohol use and misuse in England, providing information obtained from a number of sources, it covers topics such as drinking habits and behaviours among adults (aged 16 and over) and school children (aged 11 to 15), drinking-related ill health and mortality, affordability of alcohol, alcohol related admissions to hospital and alcohol-related costs. The report contains previously published information and also includes additional new analyses.
Drinking behaviour among adults and children
61% of men and 72% of women had either drunk no alcohol in the last week, or had drunk within the recommended levels on the day they drank the most alcohol. This was most common among men and women aged 65 or over.
64% of men drank no more than 21 units weekly, and 63% of women drank no more than 14 units weekly.
12% of school pupils had drunk alcohol in the last week. This continues a decline from 26% in 2001, and is at a similar level to 2010, when 13% of pupils reported drinking in the last week.
Drinking related costs, ill health and mortality
Estimates of the number of alcohol-related admissions to hospital are calculated using a method developed by the North West Public Health Observatory (NWPHO) which takes information on patients’ characteristics and diagnoses from the Hospital Episode Statistics (HES), together with estimates for the proportion of cases of a particular disease or injury that are caused by alcohol consumption (known as alcohol-attributable fractions (AAFs)).
Within this publication, two main measures are presented:
a broad measure, which is derived by summing the alcohol attributable fraction associated with each admission based on the diagnosis most strongly associated with alcohol out of all recorded diagnoses (both primary and secondary); and
a narrow measure, which is constructed in a similar way but counts only the fraction associated with the diagnosis recorded in the primary position.
The attributable fractions represent the likelihood that the condition is the result of alcohol consumption, rather than the likelihood that the admission is the result of alcohol consumption. The figures based on all diagnoses give an estimate of the number of admissions to hospital caused or affected by alcohol consumption at a particular time or place and hence the pressure put on the health system. Information based only on primary diagnoses allow an uncomplicated picture of trends in alcohol-related admissions over time although will provide an incomplete picture of admissions resulting from or affected by alcohol consumption (as in some cases, the secondary diagnoses will have contributed to the admission to hospital).
In 2011/12, there were 200,900 admissions where the primary diagnosis was attributable to the consumption of alcohol (the narrow measure). This is a 1% increase since 2010/11 when there were 198,900 admissions of this type.
In 2011/12, there were an estimated 1,220,300 admissions related to alcohol consumption where an alcohol-related disease, injury or condition was the primary reason for hospital admission or a secondary diagnosis (broad measure). This is an increase of 4% on the 2010/11 figure (1,168,300).Comparisons over time in the broad measure are complicated by changes in recording practices over the period. Adjusted figures show a 1% increase from 1,205,500 in 2010/11.
In 2012, there were 178,247 prescription items prescribed for the treatment of alcohol dependence in primary care settings or NHS hospitals and dispensed in the community.