Alcohol-related injury and illness accounts for 14% of all accident and emergency hospital attendance, research has found.
More than one in 10 people attend A&E wards with an alcohol-related injury, while 3% of patients attend due to alcohol-related illness, a study suggests.
The authors of the report, which is published online in the Emergency Medicine Journal, said the numbers equate nationally to nearly two million alcohol-related visits to emergency care departments in England and Wales every year.
The researchers found that one third of patients, or 640,000, who attended A&E units required admission to hospital.
They studied 774 patients seeking emergency care at Bristol Royal Infirmary over a four week period in June 2009.
“Harmful and hazardous alcohol use is a major problem,” the authors said. “If these figures are extrapolated, the number of patients presenting with alcohol-related injury is in excess of 7,000 attendances to the Bristol Royal Infirmary annually, or nearly two million patients every year in England and Wales.”
Alcohol Concern director of campaigns Emily Robinson said: “Alcohol-related hospital admissions remain extremely high, having doubled over a decade.
“This study provides a worrying insight into the actual level of the burden put on to emergency medical services by those who have been drinking and those who suffer the results of alcohol-induced violence, and it estimates nearly two million attendances at A&E per year across England and Wales could be due to alcohol.”
She added: “While the government has shown a will to tackle these problems in its new alcohol strategy, it must now make sure that the policies suggested, such as dedicated alcohol liaison nurses in A&E, are backed by sufficient resources to make a real difference.”