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Alcoholic Drinks: Death

Volume 472: debated on Tuesday 4 March 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what proportion of deaths were alcohol-related for (a) men and (b) women in the latest period for which figures are available; and if he will make a statement. (190130)

In 2006 the male death rate was 18.3 deaths per 100,000 population, and the female death rate was 8.8 deaths per 100,000 population.

These latest figures for alcohol-related deaths show that much more needs to be done to address the chronic and acute harms that are caused by alcohol misuse. It is vital that we ensure that everyone understands the sensible drinking message and that the public drinks within the low risk levels.

That is why “Safe. Sensible. Social.?the next steps in the National Alcohol Strategy”, seeks to implement key actions to raise awareness, by:

promoting a culture of sensible drinking;

raising unit awareness—the Department of Health and the Home Office will jointly launch a much expanded, £10 million sustained national communications campaign in spring that will raise the public’s knowledge of units of alcohol and ensure that everyone has the information they need to estimate how much they really do drink;

providing more help for those who want to drink less, through a £3.2 million investment to establish a series of intervention and brief advice ‘Trailblazer’ projects in health and criminal justice settings to identify people who are drinking at harmful or potentially harmful levels and to offer them help and advice; and

supporting harmful drinkers—the Government will support the development of a range of new kinds of information and advice aimed at people who drink at harmful levels and their families and friends. These will run alongside other kinds of support and advice from the national health service.

We have put in place a new NHS indicator to measure the change in the rate of hospital admissions for alcohol related harm (Hospital Episode Statistics data)—the first ever national commitment to monitor how the NHS is tackling alcohol health harms. This indicator is expected to encourage primary care trusts to invest in earlier identification of people who drink too much linked to advice and support from general practitioners or hospitals—shown to be the best way of reducing the kind of ‘everyday’ drinking which over time leads to liver disease and other problems.

Notes:

The ONS definition of alcohol-related deaths (which includes causes regarded as most directly due to alcohol consumption) was revised in 2006. Details can be found at: www.statistics.gov.uk/statbase/Product.asp?vlnk=14496 and link on this page to ‘Alcohol-related deaths in the UK’. ONS has agreed with the GROS and NISRA that this definition will be used to report alcohol-related deaths for the United Kingdom.

Sources:

Office for National Statistics (ONS), General Register Office for Scotland (GROS), Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency (NISRA) (published on 25 January 2008).

The introduction of the Tenth Revision of the “International Classification of Diseases” (ICD-10) for coding cause of death means that data following its implementation are not completely comparable with earlier years. Mortality data for England and Wales show that the introduction of ICD-10 resulted in a difference in the number of alcohol-related deaths below one per cent.

Rates are based on deaths registered in each calendar year and are directly age-standardised using the European Standard Population.