Alcohol-specific deaths in the UK: registered in 2017

Office of National Statistics | December 2018 | Alcohol-specific deaths in the UK: registered in 2017 

Data from the Office of National Statistics (ONS) has found that mortality rates related to alcohol have risen.  The data analysed  includes only those health conditions where each death is a direct consequence of alcohol misuse (that is, wholly-attributable deaths. Most of these are chronic (longer-term) conditions associated with continued misuse of alcohol. 


Key findings:

  • In 2017, there were 7,697 alcohol-specific deaths in the UK, an age-standardised rate of 12.2 deaths per 100,000 population.
  • For the UK, alcohol-specific death rates have increased in recent years to similar rates observed in 2008 where they were at the highest recorded.
  • Since the beginning of the time series in 2001, rates of alcohol-specific deaths among males have been more than double those observed among females (16.8 and 8.0 deaths per 100,000 in 2017 respectively).
  • In 2017, alcohol-specific death rates were highest among 55- to 59-year-old females and 60- to 64-year-old males. (Source: ONS)

See also: Public Health Funding to help improve the lives of those affected by alcohol

In the news:

Daily Mail Record number of British women are dying because of alcohol as figures show drink-related deaths are up 15% since 2001

The Independent UK alcohol deaths approaching levels last seen in 2008 recession, ONS data shows

 Guardian Alcohol-related deaths among UK women at highest rate in 10 years

The Telegraph Baby boomers’ drinking blamed for pushing alcohol-related deaths among women to highest ever level

The latest figures on the NHS’s performance

NHS Improvement| November 2018 | The latest figures on the NHS’s performance

The latest report from NHS Improvement, covering the period from the period between July and September, shows that hospitals admitted nearly 1,000 more emergency patients a day than in the same period last year, treating 5.52 million patients within the four-hour target.


Hospitals have also been able to discharge more patients from their services sooner, including reducing the number of beds occupied by patients who have been there for more than three weeks (classed as a ‘long-stay patients’), freeing up the equivalent of 2,470 beds in time for winter.

However, these achievements come as:

  • waiting times for planned treatment, such as routine non-urgent operations, have increased
  • vacancies for doctors and nurses still stand at over 100,000 despite some improvements
  • the provider sector’s deficit is forecast to be £558 million by the end of March
    (Source: NHS Improvement)

See also:

King’s Fund The King’s Fund responds to NHS Improvement’s report on the performance of the NHS provider sector 

Latest alcohol and drug treatment statistics

Public Health England has published the latest alcohol and drug treatment statistics, which are for April 2017 to March 2018


The report contains a wide range of data, which includes trends over recent years. This Public Health Matters article focuses on the following issues that this year’s statistics have shown:

  • Alcohol treatment numbers are still falling
  • Crack cocaine treatment numbers are still rising
  • Better data on drugs and mental health problems
  • Better data on parental substance misuse
  • Housing and homelessness

All the data points towards treatment services needing to reach out to the most vulnerable people in their population and to make sure they are able to respond to changing patterns of need.

More information on the treatment statistics can be found in the report summary  and in the full report, including all the data tables and charts.

Full article: What we’ve learned from the latest alcohol and drug treatment statistics

Full report: Substance misuse treatment for adults: statistics 2017 to 2018

Public Health England has conducted a rapid inquiry to better understand what was behind the fall in numbers of people in treatment for alcohol dependence in England. The report,PHE inquiry into the fall in numbers of people in alcohol treatment: findings’ sets out findings from the inquiry as well as recommendations and next steps.

Proportion of babies breastfed at six to eight weeks lowest in England for four years

Data published by Public Health England reveals the proportion of babies who are still being breastfed six to eight weeks after birth in England has fallen to its lowest level in the past four years | via OnMedica

The data covers the period 1 April 2017 to 31 March 2018, and were submitted by local authorities on a voluntary basis through an interim reporting system set up to collect health visiting activity data at a local authority resident level. baby-21167_1920

Some 140 out of 150 local authorities provided sufficient data, and their returns show an aggregate prevalence of 42.7% for 2017-18. This compares with 44.1% in 2016-17; 43.1% in 2015-16; and 43.8% in 2014-15.

Dr Max Davie, Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health officer for health promotion said: “Breast milk gives babies the best possible start in life. These figures are therefore disappointing, but sadly not surprising.”

He said the significant drop-off at the six to eight-week mark was due to a range of factors, which included lack of local support services, social stigma around breastfeeding in public as well as “inconsistent messaging from health professionals.”

Full story at OnMedica

Full detail:

Breastfeeding at 6 to 8 weeks after birth: annual data | Public Health England:


Statistics on care of people with learning disabilities

NHS Digital | June 2018 | Statistics on care of people with learning disabilities

As this week (18-24 June 2018) is Learning Disability Week, NHS Digital have released some key statistics associated with the health and care of people with learning disabilities.

  • 49.7% of patients with a learning disability registered at a GP practice received an annual learning disabilities health check in 2016-17, an increase from 43.2% in 2014-15.
  • 41.9% of patients with a learning disability registered at a GP practice received a seasonal influenza immunisation in 2016-17, an increase from 40.8% in 2014-15.
  • 79.5% of eligible patients with a learning disability registered at a GP practice aged 60-69 received screening for colorectal cancer, less than the 86.0% of those eligible patients without a learning disability.
  • On average, females with learning disabilities had around an 18-year shorter life expectancy than the general population, and males had around a 14-year shorter life expectancy than the general population.

(Source: NHS Digital)

The figures have been compiled into an easy to read format available here 


NHS staff numbers from 1949

NHS Digital | May 2018 | Historical workforce statistics in lead-up to NHS70

NHS Digital has published figures which show how the NHS workforce has grown and evolved over the past seven decades:


  • In 1949, there were 11,735 full time equivalent hospital doctors in England and Wales, including 3,488 consultants.
  • By 2018 there were 109,509 full time equivalent medical and dental staff, including 46,297 consultants, in England.
  • In 1949, there were 68,013 registered nurses in hospitals in England and Wales.
    In 2018, that number stood at 320,422 (headcount).
  • There were 5,637 midwifery staff in 1949. By 2018 there were 26,519 (headcount).
  • In 1963 there were 22,159 GPs in England and Wales, 19,951 of whom were male and 2,208 of whom were female.
  • In 2018 there were 41,693 GPs, 17,366 male and 21,736 female (headcount).

Source: NHS Digital 


22,000 children severely obese when they leave primary school

Local Government Association| May 2018 | 22,000 children severely obese when they leave primary school

Children in their final year of primary school are nearly twice as likely to be obese as those in Reception, analysis by Local Government Association shows. Their analysis, the first of its kind for 2016/17 obtained by the LGA and supplied by the National Child Measurement Programme (NCMP), of data shows more than 22,000 children aged 10 and 11 in Year 6 are classed as severely obese (LGA).


The analysis shows:

  • A total of 22,646 out of 556,452 (4.1 per cent) of 10 and 11 year-old children in Year 6 are classed as severely obese;
  • This is nearly twice that of the 14,787 out of 629,359 children (2.35 per cent) of four and five year-old children in Reception classed as severely obese, showing children are gaining weight at a drastic rate as they go through schools.