About this release

This release by Public Health Scotland (PHS) provides information on alcohol-related inpatient and day case activity within general acute and psychiatric hospitals in Scotland. This release covers general acute hospital activity for the financial years 1981/82 to 2021/22 and psychiatric hospital admissions from 1997/98 to 2021/22.

Main points

  • In 2021/22, there were 35,187 alcohol-related hospital admissions (stays) in Scotland. The majority of alcohol-related hospital admissions (94%) were treated in general acute hospitals (33,060) with the remaining 6% of admissions (2,127) occurring in psychiatric hospitals.
Image caption Alcohol-related hospitalisation rates, general acute hospitals, Scotland, 1981/82-2021/22
  • In 2021/22, the European Age-sex standardised rate of alcohol-related hospital admissions to general acute hospitals was 610.7 per 100,000 population and was 10% lower than the rate in 2019/20 (681 per 100,000). The COVID-19 pandemic and measures put in place are likely to have contributed to the decrease since 2019/20.
  • In 2021/22, men were 2.3 times more likely than women to be admitted to general acute hospitals for alcohol-related conditions (856 compared to 365 per 100,000 population).
  • In 2021/22, people in the most deprived areas were six times more likely to be admitted to general acute hospitals for an alcohol-related condition than those in the least deprived areas (991 compared to 153 per 100,000 population).


Consumption of alcohol can result in a wide range of health problems. Some may occur after drinking over a relatively short period, such as acute intoxication (drunkenness) or poisoning (toxic effect). Others develop more gradually, such as damage to the liver and brain. Estimates of the number of inpatient and day case hospitalisations are based on counts where alcohol-related conditions are diagnosed during the hospital stay (see Metadata for more information).

Attendances at Accident and Emergency that do not result in an admission to hospital are not included in this report. Individuals may have more than one stay in hospital during a year, therefore the number of people admitted will be less than the total number of stays.

Data presented for 01 April 2021 to 31 March 2022 are provisional and subject to change in future publications as figures will be updated to reflect more complete data from NHS Boards.

General enquiries

If you have an enquiry relating to this publication, please email phs.alcohol@phs.scot.

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If you have a media enquiry relating to this publication, please contact the Communications and Engagement team.

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Older versions of this publication

Versions of this publication released before 16 March 2020 may be found on the Data and Intelligence, Health Protection Scotland or Improving Health websites.

Last updated: 21 March 2024
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