1000s hospitalised over pandemic boozing with 60 and 70-year-olds affected most

New government data has found that more than 100 people were hospitalised every hour because of alcohol during the first months of the coronavirus pandemic.

NHS statistics show there were 750,000 alcohol-related admissions between April and December last year.

The figures also revealed that the worst affected were those in their early 60s and early 70s – with more than 94,000 cases amongst that age range.

More than three-quarters of cases involved people over 50 and there were nearly 20,000 admissions among those aged 90-plus.

In contrast, drinkers in their 20s and 30s accounted for a relatively small number of cases.

The NHS Digital statistics included both drink-related accidents as well as chronic conditions such as cirrhosis.

Overall, there were 773,522 hospital admissions amongst all age ranges.

Despite the number being just over one million less than the same period in 2019, concerns have been raised that the figures were so high even though pubs closed for months.

Experts also worry many people who needed treatment as a result of injuries due to alcohol may have stayed away from hospital because of the Covid pandemic.

Dr Richard Piper, chief executive of the charity Alcohol Change UK, said: "There is an urgent need to offer high-quality treatment and support for all those who are struggling with their drinking.’

Elaine Hindal, head of alcohol- awareness charity Drinkaware, also added: "Much more needs to be done to support people who drink harmful amounts of alcohol, to reduce health harms, hospital admissions and preventable loss of life."

It's estimated that alcohol misuse costs NHS £3.5 billion a year.

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The data comes as the lockdown easing of pub rules ended in tragedy as one 21-year-old man died on the first night they reopened.

A man tragically died after collapsing in the street on a night out during what was dubbed 'Magic Monday'.

His death was labelled 'non-suspicious' after emergency services were called to the scene shortly after 7pm in Cleethorpes, Lincolnshire.

Witnesses described the area as "very busy" as open-air drinking was allowed for the first time in months under lockdown rule changes.

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