Almost 24,000 Scots admitted to hospital for alcohol misuse

Statistics from Public Health Scotland have shown 23,685 people in the year 2019-20 were admitted to hospital.

Almost 24,000 Scots admitted to hospital for alcohol misuse Getty Images

Almost 24,000 Scots were admitted to hospital in the past year for alcohol misuse.

Statistics from Public Health Scotland show 23,685 people in the year 2019-20 were admitted to hospital a total of 35,781 times.

The figures show more than half of those who were admitted had been for the first time.

However the number of total admissions has fallen compared with the previous year.

People from deprived backgrounds were found to be seven times more likely to be admitted for alcohol-related treatment than those who were better off, with 1078.7 admissions per 100,000 compared to 155.

Scottish Labour has pushed for an increase in funding for alcohol addiction services amid fears of a “ticking health time bomb”.

The party’s health spokeswoman Monica Lennon has called for investment in residential rehabilitation beds, saying these should be available to the general public and not just those who can afford it.

Ms Lennon said: “Alcohol misuse continues to be an enormous problem in Scotland, with lockdown seeing a rise in consumption levels across every social and economic background.

“I know from personal experience how difficult it is to see a loved one admitted to hospital repeatedly as a result of alcohol misuse.

“More needs to be done to prevent people falling into crisis in the first place.

“Alcohol misuse affects people from all backgrounds but people in our most deprived communities are too often pushed to the back of the queue and we are seeing massive health inequalities.”

Ms Lennon urged the Scottish Government to increase funding for addiction services across the country.

“That’s why I continue to lobby the Scottish Government to fund access to residential rehab – it shouldn’t just be an option for people from wealthier backgrounds,” she said.

“This is a ticking health time bomb and as we come out of lockdown we are likely to see a huge range of alcohol related illnesses that require urgent interventions.

“The Scottish Government must redouble efforts to properly resource community addiction services.”