by Stewart Paterson

Hospital stays for alcohol related illnesses are on the increase in Glasgow with 2,000 new patients every year.

On average 41 new patients, not seen before, are admitted to hospitals in the city every week for the effects of excessive and long term drinking.

After several years of decline the number of people admitted and the number of times people are treated in hospital has risen in the city for the second year in a row.

Patients are admitted for a variety of reason including brain damage through alcohol, heart and liver conditions acute intoxication and mental and behavioural problems.

In Glasgow last year 4,611 men and women were admitted to hospital for an alcohol related condition.

The number is an increase from 4,216 the year before, report our sister paper, the Evening Times.

On average there are more than 2000 new patients, admitted to hospital for the first time with a drink related illness, every year.

In the last ten years 21,347 new patients in Glasgow have been taken into hospital.

the number of patients fell from more than 5,000 in 2011 to just over 4,000 in 2015 before increasing in each of the last two years.

Health Secretary Shona Robison is setting out the Scottish Government’s next steps in tackling alcohol and drug addictions.

Last week she revealed the minimum pricing of alcohol would begin in May next year.

In Glasgow the most common cause of hospital treatment was mental and behavioural disorders, with almost 4,000 patients a year admitted.

Another 1,800 were for harmful use and almost 700 for acute intoxication.

Alcoholic liver disease was responsible for more than 800 people admitted to hospital, 450 for cirrhosis and 542 for alcohol dependence.

People form poorer areas are more likely to end up in hospital through drinking with the statistics showing a link between poverty and alcohol related ill health.

Health bosses in the city said that connection is a key focus of their work to reduce the harm caused by alcohol.

Dr Linda de Caestecker, NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde Director of Public Health, said: “This issue also has a very real impact on our hospital services as these statistics clearly show.

“There is clearly a link between problem drinking and poverty, deprivation, unemployment and poor housing. Our efforts to address alcohol will require action on all these fronts.

“We have been working jointly with a number of key partners to tackle over-consumption of alcohol. We’re particularly focused on prevention and early intervention for those at risk of misusing alcohol in addition to treatment and support for people who already have significant alcohol-related health problems.”

Minimum pricing will target cheap high strength ciders and lagers taking some form around £3 for a three litre bottle up to more than £11.

Dr de Caestecker, added: “We welcome the decision on minimum pricing for alcohol, as the overuse of alcohol is a major cause of ill-health and early death in the population of Greater Glasgow and Clyde.

“Minimum pricing will allow Scotland to implement one of the most effective policies to address this public health challenge and I believe will save lives.”