Skip to main content

Alcoholic Drinks: Misuse

Volume 463: debated on Thursday 19 July 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what change there has been in the recorded number of (a) incidents of binge drinking leading to accident and emergency admissions and (b) alcohol related illnesses since the publication of the Alcohol Harm Reduction Strategy report in 2004. (150481)

Hospital Episode Statistics (HES) data cannot determine when an admitted patient has been involved in an incident of binge drinking, and the vast majority of incidents of binge drinking do not result in an admission to hospital. While HES data can be used to determine the number of episodes where the patient had an alcohol related illness, many patients may not be admitted to hospital and would instead be treated in other settings such as primary care or outpatients. Neither can HES supply data that could be used to accurately assess the change in the number of alcohol related illnesses since 2004. While it is likely that alcohol-related attendances at accident and emergency (A&E) departments will be higher than those for alcohol-related admissions to hospital, these data are not recorded.

The following table provides a count of finished admission episodes (FAE), for which data are available, with an alcohol-related primary diagnosis where the patient was admitted via A&E.

Count of FAE with an alcohol-related primary diagnosis admitted via A&E for 2004-05 and 2005-06: National health service hospitals, England







Alcohol-related diagnoses defined by ICD-10 codes: F10 Mental and behavioural disorders due to use of alcohol; K70 Alcoholic liver disease; and T51 Toxic effect of alcohol.

Admission methods 71: Emergency—via A&E services, including the casualty department of the provider’ and ‘28: Emergency—other means, including patients who arrive via the A&E department of another health care provider’

Finished admission episodes

A finished admission episode is the first period of in-patient care under one consultant within one healthcare provider. Admissions do not represent the number of in-patients, as a person may have more than one admission within the year.

Diagnosis (primary diagnosis)

The primary diagnosis is the first of up to 14 (7 prior to 2002-03) diagnosis fields in the HES data set and provides the main reason why the patient was in hospital.

Data quality

Hospital Episode Statistics (HES) are compiled from data sent by over 300 NHS trusts and primary care trusts in England. The Information Centre for health and social care liaises closely with these organisations to encourage submission of complete and valid data and seeks to minimise inaccuracies and the effect of missing and invalid data via HES processes. Whilst this brings about improvement over time, some shortcomings remain.

Ungrossed data

Figures have not been adjusted for shortfalls in data (i.e. the data are ungrossed).


HES, The Information Centre for health and social care