The number of people admitted to hospital because of alcohol has risen by 60% in the last decade, figures show.
The NHS statistics reveal there were almost 1.3 million alcohol-related hospital admissions in 2018, up 8% from the previous year and representing 7.4% of all hospital admissions across the country.
Almost half of people admitted were aged between 55 and 74 and just under two thirds of all admissions were male.
The biggest reason for admission was for cardiovascular disease, which accounted for 51% of all admissions.
A further 17% of admissions were for mental and behavioural disorders due to alcohol, according to the analysis of the figures by alcohol addiction treatment firm UKAT.
Other conditions for hospital admission due to alcohol included breast cancer, alcohol poisoning and alcoholic liver disease.
Nuno Albuquerque, group treatment lead at UKAT, warned that the country’s problem with alcohol is a ticking time bomb about to explode.
“The NHS is crippling under pressures directly attributable to the misuse of alcohol; what will it take to make the Government sit up, listen and take effective action? Why do we still not have an alcohol-specific strategy, as promised back in 2018? It is a huge problem and one that needs immediately addressed as a matter of urgency,” he argued.
There were a total of 5,698 deaths due to drink in 2018 – 2% lower than in 2017 but a 7% rise in 10 years.