Alcohol may be involved in up to 640,000 hospital admissions in England and Wales every year

June 20, 2012

Alcohol may be involved in up to 640,000 hospital admissions and nearly 2 million visits to emergency care departments in England and Wales every year, suggests research published online in Emergency Medicine Journal.

The authors base their findings on the number of patients requiring treatment at one inner city emergency care department in the South West of England, and the of those figures.

Almost a thousand adults seeking emergency care at Bristol Royal Infirmary (BRI) over a period of four weeks in June 2009 were invited to take part in the anonymous study.

Each week was divided up into 14 periods of 12 hours, so that all relevant attendances were covered. Of those approached, 774 people were eligible and willing to take part.

An independent researcher asked each one if they had been before their attendance in , and then asked about their average weekly .

Treating clinicians were also asked their opinion as to whether a patient's emergency department attendance was either directly or indirectly related to alcohol, or was unrelated.

In all, around one in five (149; 19%) patients said they had drunk anything between half a unit and 50 units of alcohol before coming to the . Some 14% (111) felt their attendance was related to alcohol, 87 (11%) of whom had sustained an injury.

Of these, just over half believed they had been injured by someone who had been drinking, while a similar proportion admitted to drinking more than the maximum recommended weekly units. Of the 111 patients who felt their attendance was related to alcohol, one in three was admitted to hospital.

Clinicians said that around one in five (21%) patient attendances was either directly (14%) or indirectly (7%) related to alcohol. And they felt that around one in 10 (8%) of all attendances were attributable to alcohol fuelled violence.

The authors caution that the BRI experience may not be applicable elsewhere. But they conclude: "If these figures are extrapolated, the number of patients presenting with alcohol related injury [exceeds] 7,000 attendances to the [BRI] annually, or nearly 2 million patients every year in England and Wales."

Explore further: Seven minutes of physician counseling can curtail drinking and save lives

More information: What is the burden of alcohol related injuries in an inner city emergency department? Online First, doi:10.1136/emermed-2011-200510

Related Stories

Seven minutes of physician counseling can curtail drinking and save lives

April 4, 2012
Problem drinkers who end up in hospital emergency departments are more likely to curtail their binge drinking and overall alcohol consumption if they receive physician counseling on the spot — even just seven minutes ...

Excessive drinking costs U.S. colleges millions annually

March 19, 2012
(HealthDay) -- The emergency room costs of treating college students with injuries associated with alcohol-induced blackouts can be more than half a million dollars a year at a university with 40,000 or more students, a new ...

UQ research finds alcopops tax ineffective

December 12, 2011
A University of Queensland research team have evaluated the effectiveness of the 'alcopops' tax by studying binge drinking-related admissions at the Gold Coast Hospital.

Recommended for you

Expert: Be concerned about how apps collect, share health data

October 20, 2017
As of 2016 there were more than 165,000 health and wellness apps available though the Apple App Store alone. According to Rice University medical media expert Kirsten Ostherr, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulates ...

Three million Americans carry loaded handguns daily, study finds

October 19, 2017
An estimated 3 million adult American handgun owners carry a firearm loaded and on their person on a daily basis, and 9 million do so on a monthly basis, new research indicates. The vast majority cited protection as their ...

More teens than ever aren't getting enough sleep

October 19, 2017
If you're a young person who can't seem to get enough sleep, you're not alone: A new study led by San Diego State University Professor of Psychology Jean Twenge finds that adolescents today are sleeping fewer hours per night ...

Across Asia, liver cancer is linked to herbal remedies: study

October 18, 2017
Researchers have uncovered widespread evidence of a link between traditional Chinese herbal remedies and liver cancer across Asia, a study said Wednesday.

Eating better throughout adult years improves physical fitness in old age, suggests study

October 18, 2017
People who have a healthier diet throughout their adult lives are more likely to be stronger and fitter in older age than those who don't, according to a new study led by the University of Southampton.

Global calcium consumption appears low, especially in Asia

October 18, 2017
Daily calcium intake among adults appears to vary quite widely around the world in distinct regional patterns, according to a new systematic review of research data ahead of World Osteoporosis Day on Friday, Oct. 20.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.