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One million alcohol-related hospital admissions every year.

Wednesday, December 16th, 2009 One million alcohol-related hospital admissions every year.

The number of people admitted to hospital with an alcohol related illness is nearly one million a year, according to new statistics.

Alcohol-related hospital admissions have increased by 47 per cent over the past five years.

The statistics revealed that there are stark regional variations. The West Midlands experienced the biggest rise in the number of admissions, with a 60 per cent increase.

The North East was the worst region, with 67,955 admissions last year, which is an increase by 55 per cent in the past five years.

The new statistics, released by the Liberal Democrats, account for patients who suffer from alcohol-related illness such as liver disease, cancer and alcohol poisoning; they do not include patients admitted to hospital who have hurt themselves whilst intoxicated with alcohol or the victims of drink-related violence.

The figures show that there were 945,223 people admitted to hospital with an alcohol-related illness between 2008-09. This is a 47 per cent increase than 2004 – 05 when 644,185 were admitted to hospital.

Critics believe that cheap alcohol and 24-hour drink laws are to blame for the surge.

Liberal Democrat spokesman, Norman Lamb, said: “’Alcohol-related illness is reaching epidemic proportions in Britain. We cannot continue to ignore the seriousness of this health crisis.”

Don Shenker, chief executive of Alcohol Concern, said: “This is a shocking indictment on the Government’s failure to tackle harms from alcohol misuse.

“The Government must take strong measures on the affordability and availability of alcohol to reduce the unnecessary burden on the NHS and improve everyone’s health.”

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