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Accident and Emergency Departments: Alcoholic Drinks

Volume 495: debated on Wednesday 1 July 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many (a) people (b) under 18-year-olds, (c) under 16-year-olds and (d) under 12-year-olds (i) attended and (ii) were admitted via accident and emergency departments for excessive consumption of alcohol in each year since 1997-98. (282773)

The information for alcohol-related attendances at accident and emergency departments is not collected centrally. However, information on alcohol-related hospital admissions is collected centrally. The following table shows numbers of admissions rather than individuals.

Information on alcohol-related hospital admissions is only available for the years 2002-03 to 2007-08 and we have provided figures for all alcohol-related hospital admissions for those aged 16 and over.

Number of finished alcohol-related admissions of patients via accident and emergency (A&E)







Total number of admissions via A&E







Under 12-years-old







12 to 15-years-old







16 to 17-years-old








1. Includes activity in English NHS hospitals and English NHS commissioned activity in the independent sector.

2. Alcohol-related admissions

The number of alcohol-related admissions is based on the methodology developed by the North West Public Health Observatory. Figures for under 16s only include admissions where one or more of the following alcohol-specific conditions were listed:

Alcoholic cardiomyopathy (I42.6)

Alcoholic gastritis (K29.2)

Alcoholic liver disease (K70)

Alcoholic myopathy (G72.1)

Alcoholic polyneuropathy (G62.1)

Alcohol-induced pseudo-Cushing’s syndrome (E24.4)

Chronic pancreatitis (alcohol induced) (K86.0)

Degeneration of nervous system due to alcohol (G31.2)

Mental and behavioural disorders due to use of alcohol (F10)

Accidental poisoning by and exposure to alcohol (X45)

Ethanol poisoning (T51.0)

Methanol poisoning (T51.1)

Toxic effect of alcohol, unspecified (T51.9)

3. 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 20 (14 from 2002-03 to 2006-07 and seven prior to 2002-03) primary and secondary diagnosis fields in a Hospital Episode Statistics (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.

4. Ungrossed data

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

5. Finished admission episodes

A finished admission episode is the first period of inpatient care under one consultant within one health care 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.

6. Data quality

HES are compiled from data sent by more than 300 NHS trusts and primary care trusts (PCTs) in England. Data are also received from a number of independent sector organisations for activity commissioned by the English NHS. The NHS 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. While this brings about improvement over time, some shortcomings remain.

7. Assessing growth through time

HES figures are available from 1989-90 onwards. The quality and coverage of the data have improved over time. These improvements in information submitted by the NHS have been particularly marked in the earlier years and need to be borne in mind when analysing time series. Some of the increase in figures for later years (particularly 2006-07 onwards) may be due to the improvement in the coverage of independent sector activity.

Changes in NHS practice also need to be borne in mind when analysing time series. For example, a number of procedures may now be undertaken in outpatient settings and may no longer be accounted for in the HES data. This may account for any reductions in activity over time.

8. Assignment of Episodes to Years

Years are assigned by the end of the first period of care in a patient’s hospital stay.


Hospital Episode Statistics (HES), The NHS Information Centre for health and social care.