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Alcoholic Drinks: Misuse

Volume 485: debated on Tuesday 16 December 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what progress has been made towards the new public service agreement target to reduce drug and alcohol harm, with particular reference to the new national indicator to measure change in the rate of hospital admissions for alcohol-related conditions. (240372)

The aim of the public service agreement indicator relating to the rate of hospital admissions for alcohol-related conditions is to achieve a lower rate of admission than predicted if current trends continue. For the reduction to be statistically significant, the rate needs to be 1.4 per cent. below the projected level. Data are currently available up to 2006-07. We expect data for 2007-08 and the first period of 2008-09 to become available before the end of March 2009.

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what change there has been in the number of alcohol-related (a) admissions and (b) visits to accident and emergency facilities since the implementation of changes affecting the sale of alcohol contained in the Licensing Act 2003; and if he will make a statement. (241289)

The following table gives the total number of alcohol-related finished admissions and the for the years 2004-05 to 2006-07.

Alcohol-related finished admissions









1. The number of alcohol-related admissions is based on the methodology developed by the North West Public Health Observatory (NWPHO). Following international best practice, the NWPHO methodology includes a wide range of diseases and injuries in which alcohol plays a part and estimates the proportion of cases that are attributable to the consumption of alcohol. Details of the conditions and associated proportions can be found in the report Jones et al. (2008) “Alcohol-attributable fractions for England: Alcohol-attributable mortality and hospital admissions”.

Includes activity in English NHS Hospitals and English NHS commissioned activity in the independent sector.

2. Finished admission episodes:

A finished admission episode is the first period of inpatient care under one consultant within one healthcare provider. Finished admission episodes are counted against the year in which the admission episode finishes. Admissions do not represent the number of inpatients, as a person may have more than one admission within the year.

3. Primary diagnosis:

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

4. Secondary diagnoses:

As well as the primary diagnosis, there are up to 13 (six prior to 2002-03) secondary diagnosis fields in HES that show other diagnoses relevant to the episode of care.

5. Number of episodes in which the patient had an alcohol-related primary or secondary diagnosis:

These figures represent the number of episodes where an alcohol-related diagnosis was recorded in any of the 14 (seven prior to 2002-03) primary and secondary diagnosis fields in a HES record. Each episode is only counted once in each count, even if an alcohol-related diagnosis is recorded in more than one diagnosis field of the record.

The information for alcohol-related attendances at accident and emergency departments is not collected centrally.