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In the News

Lockdown drinking habits change predicted to increase alcohol-related deaths

Liz Blamire

27th July 2022

Two new modelling studies suggest that there will be an increase in alcohol-related death in the UK due to changed drinking habits brought on by lockdown.

This BBC article reports on two separate modelling studies, which have both suggested that there will be an increase in alcohol-related death, due to changed drinking habits brought on by lockdown.

What is a modelling study?

Modelling studies take existing data, for example patterns of drinking behaviour, and attempt to model or predict the impact this will have over a longer time period. Modelling studies are used to inform health care services and policy.

What did the models show?

The University of Sheffield’s NHS-commissioned report, used data on drinking behaviour during the lockdowns of 2020 and 2021, which showed that the heaviest drinkers increased their alcohol consumption in this time period, whilst the lightest drinkers continued to reduce theirs. This data was then used to model how alcohol-related hospitalisations and deaths are likely to increase over a longer period of 20 years.

The study found that with their worst-case scenario there will be:

  • 972,382 additional hospital admissions
  • 25,192 additional deaths
  • At a cost of £5.2 billion

Click here for the full report.

The Institute of Alcohol Studies model predicts that if drinking does not to return to pre-pandemic patterns, by 2035 in the worst-case scenario there will be:

  • 147,892 additional cases of nine alcohol-related diseases – such as liver cirrhosis and breast cancer
  • 9,914 additional premature deaths
  • Costing the NHS £1.2 billion

Read The Covid Hangover report.

Liz Blamire

Liz is the current tutor2u subject lead for Health and Social Care. She is a former NHS midwife, who has worked in community, birth centre and acute hospital settings. Liz is an SSAT Accredited Lead Practitioner, who has taught Health and Social Care in FE and secondary schools, where she was a successful HOD. Liz is an experienced senior examiner and author.

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