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One in Ten UK Hospital Inpatients is Alcohol Dependent.


Researchers estimate that one in ten patients in the UK hospital system are alcohol dependent and one in five patients use alcohol harmfully. This study published in the scientific journal Addiction, emphasises how high level of alcohol dependence among hospital inpatients has not been met with a significant action; services for patients with alcohol dependence are still severely limited.




Alcohol dependence is found most commonly in patients attending accident and emergency departments while harmful use of alcohol is most prevalent in mental health inpatient units. This suggests that alcohol is a coping mechanism for patients still. There is a need for healthier and least costly coping mechanisms in the UK still.


Alcohol-related conditions are estimated to cost the National Health Service at approximately £3.5 billion per year. Alcohol can cause a large number of medical conditions, furthermore, without in-hospital screening many alcohol-related conditions are missed and are not receiving appropriate treatment.


This study provides the first robust estimates of alcohol-related conditions among UK hospital inpatients by pooling the results of 124 earlier studies covering a total of 1,657,614 participants. This review suggests that alcohol dependence is eight times higher in hospital inpatients than in the general UK population and harmful alcohol use is 10 times higher compared with the general UK population.


Accurate prevalence estimates are vital to inform policy makers of the scale of the problem and are particularly timely given the UK government’s development of a new alcohol strategy and the NHS 10-year plan, which includes funding allocations to combat alcohol-related conditions.

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