10 Jul 2018
The number of people being admitted to hospital with brain damage caused by alcohol has hit a new high, official figures have confirmed.
Nearly two people a day are seen by medics after excessive drinking impacted memory, learning and other cognitive skills.
The figures were released following a parliamentary question by shadow health secretary Miles Briggs.
They showed there were 661 cases last year, an increase of 25 from 2015/16.
When the SNP government came to power in 2007, there were 590 instances.
The statistics are the latest indication of Scotland’s “complex and deep-rooted” battle with alcohol.
Alcohol is blamed for killing 22 Scots a week, with those in deprived areas considerably more likely to die than wealthier counterparts.
Today’s figures show NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde had the most admissions last year, with 230 people requiring treatment for alcohol-related brain damage.
NHS Lothian recorded the second-highest rate with 99, followed by NHS Lanarkshire with 84.
Scottish Conservative shadow health secretary Miles Briggs said:
“These are the latest figures which expose Scotland’s complex and deep-rooted relationship with alcohol.
“It’s worrying that these statistics continue to rise, and means more people are having their lives badly impacted by drinking too much alcohol.
“Scotland already has one of the worst records in Europe for alcohol consumption, and despite increased awareness, the problem only seems to be getting worse.
“The SNP government has finally managed to introduce minimum pricing, but it’s clear far more will be required if we are to make any meaningful difference.
“The SNP has been in power since 2007, and in that time more people have been admitted to hospital with this problem.
“Health is an entirely devolved issue, and therefore we need to see ministers taking full responsibility for this worsening situation.
“The decision by SNP ministers to cut funding for alcohol and drug partnerships was wrong and has clearly impacted on the delivery of services to support people addicted to alcohol.
“The Scottish Conservatives want to see more emphasis put on recovery programmes, for pilot projects to brought forward to investigate new and innovative treatments, and for more support for the family members and communities trying to help out vulnerable individuals with alcohol dependency.”