Drop in alcohol related hospital admissions

Alcohol-related hospital admissions fell by just over 7% during 2012/13, figures have shown.

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The drop in cases has been welcomed by public health minister Michael Matheson, but he warned that rates are still too high and continued to make the case for minimum pricing.

Official health statistics show that there were 35,926 alcohol-related discharges in Scotland during 2012/13, down 7.3% from 38,776 in 2011/12.

These involved 24,266 patients, with 71% of these male and 29% female.

Statistics showed that 92% of the discharges resulted from an emergency admission, with younger patients more commonly being admitted as an emergency compared with older patients.

The decline is consistent with trends over the past five years, which have seen a steady drop in alcohol discharges, with particularly notable falls among those aged under 24.

The Scottish Parliament passed legislation to bring in minimum pricing for alcohol in June 2012 but the new laws have been subject to legal challenges.

Mr Matheson said: "We welcome the fall in alcohol-related hospital admissions and particularly note the greatest falls were in the youngest age groups and the most deprived areas.

"Our Alcohol Framework outlines a package of over 40 measures to reduce alcohol-related harm by helping prevent problems arising in the first place and by improving support and treatment for those who are already experiencing problems.

"However, we must not be complacent - the fact remains that, on average, almost 700 people per week are admitted to hospital in Scotland due to alcohol, with the rate of those living in the most deprived areas being six to seven times greater than those living in the least deprived areas.

"We believe that a minimum price per unit of alcohol will be an effective and efficient way to tackle alcohol misuse in Scotland as part of this package of measures, and will provide a step change in reducing harm.

"Given the link between consumption and harm, and evidence that affordability is one of the drivers of increased consumption, addressing price is an important element of any long-term strategy to tackle alcohol misuse."


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