This site is intended for healthcare professionals only

Record number of deaths linked to alcohol

Written by: | Published:

Record number of deaths linked to alcohol Record number of deaths linked to alcohol

The highest number of deaths linked to alcohol were recorded in the year of the COVID-19 pandemic, data from the Office of National Statistics (ONS) has shown.

In 2020, there were 8,974 deaths (14.0 per 100,000 people) from alcohol-specific causes, an 18.6% increase compared with 2019 and the highest year-on-year increase since records began. The report alos foiund that in 2019/20, the NHS had nearly 1 million alcohol-related hospital admissions, a 4% rise on 2018/19.

Read more: Health Secretary reflecting on mandatory jabs

‘What we would have hoped to have seen is that as more people are admitted into hospital with alcohol-related conditions, they would have received both short-term and long-term medical and therapeutic help and support that would hopefully prevent their alcoholism from worsening,’ said Nuno Albuquerque, Consultant Treatment Lead for the UK Addiction Treatment Group.

‘What we’re seeing is that hasn’t necessarily been the case for most regions across the country. In fact, more people lost their lives to alcohol even though they’d not long engaged with the NHS. This suggests to us that sometimes, a more powerful intervention style of treatment is needed.’

The data shows that in the West Midlands, in 2019/20, 112,560 people admitted into hospitals with alcohol-related conditions, 5% more than the previous year. the 2020 alcohol-specific death toll rose from 12.1 to 16.1 deaths per 100,000 people, an annual increase of 33.1%.

The North West saw 149,350 people seek help from the NHS in 2019/20, up from 146,020 the previous year but also saw a rise in alcohol-specific mortality, from 14.4 deaths per 100,000 people in 2019 to 17.2 deaths per 100,000 people in 2020, an increase of 19.4%.

Read more: Two-thirds with Omicron say they have had virus before

‘Data from Public Health England suggests that alcohol consumption rose during 2020 which will have undoubtedly led to rising hospital admissions and ultimately, loss of life. The NHS was floored by treating those with the virus in 2020 and this has meant that other health conditions were left to worsen,’ added Mr Albuquerque.

‘We urge the Government to stop burying their heads in the sand when it comes to this country’s alcohol crisis. It is a crisis and it is a pandemic within a pandemic. Bring back protected budgets for substance misuse treatment services to relieve the NHS and so that we can support those who have been ignored over the last couple of years.’

What do you think? Leave a comment below or tweet your views to @IndyNurseMag

This material is protected by MA Healthcare Ltd copyright.
See Terms and Conditions.



Please view our Terms and Conditions before leaving a comment.

Change the CAPTCHA codeSpeak the CAPTCHA code

Read a free issue from Practice Nursing

Register to read a free issue from our sister publication, Practice Nursing.

Including articles on asthma, diabetes and more. Read your copy.


Sign up to the newsletter


Independent Nurse is the professional resource for primary care and community nurses, providing clinical articles for practice nurses and prescribers.


Subscribe to our newsletter and stay up to date with the latest nursing news.

Stay Connected

Stay social with Independent Nurse by following us on Twitter, liking us on Facebook or connecting on LinkedIn.


Need access to some of our older articles? You can view our archive, or alternatively contact us.

Contact Us

MA Healthcare Ltd.
St Jude's Church, Dulwich Road
London, SE24 0PB

Tel: +44 (0)20 7738 5454
Registered in England and Wales No. 01878373

Meet the team


Find out how to contribute to Independent Nurse here.