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Last Updated: Sunday, 14 October 2007, 09:10 GMT 10:10 UK
Alcohol-related casualties 'rise'
Patient is carried onto ambulance
Drinking-related admissions are higher in the north of England
The number of people taken to hospital because of alcohol abuse has risen sharply over the past five years, according to reports.

The Observer says NHS data shows the number of men admitted as drink-related emergency cases in England rose by 27.3% between 2001/02 and 2005/06.

Among women over the same period, there was a 28.9% rise in admissions.

The figures, which come two years after 24-hour drinking was allowed, suggest the problem is worst in the North East.

We have a serious alcohol problem in this country and measures to date haven't had any discernible effect
Professor Ian Gilmore, of the Royal College of Physicians

The Department of Health statistics, which will not be officially released until Tuesday, also point towards a North-South divide.

The overall number of men in England admitted to hospital with drink-related problems rose from 714 per 100,000 in 2001-02 to 909 per 100,000 in 2005-06, according to the report.

Over the same period, the number of women admitted rose from 396 per 100,000 to 510 per 100,000, a rise of 28.9 per cent.

The North East region had the highest number of admissions per 100,000 population for both men (1,232) and women (689) in 2005/06.

The North West was close behind with 1,215 men per 100,000 and 674 women.

The region with the best record was the east of England with admission figures of 743 men and 425 women per 100,000 population.

North-South divide

Professor Ian Gilmore, president of the Royal College of Physicians, told the Observer:"We have a serious alcohol problem in this country and measures to date haven't had any discernible effect".

He suggested increasing the cost of drinking could have the most immediate effect and called for the government to review drink promotions and availability.

Nine of the 10 areas with the highest number of alcohol-related emergency admissions are reportedly in the North and include Liverpool, Manchester and Middlesbrough. Most with the lowest numbers are in the south of England.

The cases, taken from patient records kept by every NHS hospital, include people taken to A&E because of their own or someone else's drinking.

Among them are victims of assault, people in accidents or poisoned through drink and those with liver cirrhosis.

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