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

Why sugary drinks and protein-rich meals don't go well together

July 20, 2017
Having a sugar-sweetened drink with a high-protein meal may negatively affect energy balance, alter food preferences and cause the body to store more fat, according to a study published in the open access journal BMC Nutrition.

Opioids and obesity, not 'despair deaths,' raising mortality rates for white Americans

July 20, 2017
Drug-related deaths among middle-aged white men increased more than 25-fold between 1980 and 2014, with the bulk of that spike occurring since the mid-1990s when addictive prescription opioids became broadly available, according ...

Aging Americans enjoy longer life, better health when avoiding three risky behaviors

July 20, 2017
We've heard it before from our doctors and other health experts: Keep your weight down, don't smoke and cut back on the alcohol if you want to live longer.

Parents have critical role in preventing teen drinking

July 20, 2017
Fewer teenagers are drinking alcohol but more needs to be done to curb the drinking habits of Australian school students, based on the findings of the latest study by Adelaide researchers.

Fresh fish oil lowers diabetes risk in rat offspring

July 19, 2017
Fresh fish oil given to overweight pregnant rats prevented their offspring from developing a major diabetes risk factor, Auckland researchers have found.

High-dose vitamin D doesn't appear to reduce the winter sniffles for children

July 18, 2017
Giving children high doses of vitamin D doesn't appear to reduce the winter sniffles, a new study has found.

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.