Alcohol (Dodgy statistics) Concern.

Alcohol concern are at it again, in another blatant attempt to justify their own funding.

Charity's concern at alcohol-related hospital admission

The number of people admitted to hospital in the UK because of problem drinking could rise to 1.5 million a year by 2015, a charity says.

Alcohol Concern estimates that it will cost the NHS £3.7bn annually if nothing is done to stop the increase.

Note the usual "could" and "estimates", with no attempt at justifying these figures with studies?

The charity says the number of people being treated in hospital for alcohol misuse has gone from 500,000 in 2002-3 to 1.1 million in 2009-10.

They haven't quantified these figures in the story, it seems the BBC has just copied and pasted the press release, as per usual, but it shouldn't be too difficult to check.

I wonder what they were saying two years ago?

Alcohol was the main or secondary cause of 207,800 NHS admissions in 2006/7, compared to 93,500 in 1995/96.

The timeline doesn't quite add up, does it? 500,000 in 2002/3, dropping to 207,000 in 2006/7, then increasing again to 1.1m in 2009/10. Could it be that after the 2206/7 figures were compiled, they changed the way they compile the statistics?

Take a look at these figures from October 2009.

The scale of the health problems caused by alcohol in England was laid bare in the report which showed 863,257 patients sought treatment for alcohol-related harm in 2007/08, an eight per cent increase from the previous year or an additional 176 admissions every day.

This was a six per cent rise or an increase of 31,641 people since 2006/07.

A six percent rise on 2006/7 figures, which according to the BBC were 207,000.

The more figures you dig up, the less sense any of them make. What the papers are not doing is checking any of what they are printing. All it would have taken was a quick Google search by the journalist who wrote this article to prove that the press release he had been given, was in fact bollocks.

That's very lazy journalism and all it is doing is fuelling the alcohol scaremongery.

There was a time when journalists strove to print the truth.

Bad reporting aside, there is another interesting figure in the article:

Alcohol Concern estimates that it will cost the NHS £3.7bn annually if nothing is done to stop the increase.

This claim on it's own sounds quite alarming. OMG! 3.7 billion? That is a lot of money.

Put into context, that claim is quite meaningless. Aside from the fact that we all pay for the NHS upfront, alcohol is taxed heavily. The more you drink, the more you pay.

In 1990/00, the tax take from alcohol (PDF) was 11.4 billion, rising to 13.9 billion in 2004/5.

Hardly a loss now, is it?

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