Latest NHS England hospital admissions data sparks concern from Rehabs UK, as admittances relating to drug and alcohol use fall whilst the number of people turning to the private sector rises.

Analysing the newly released figures for the 2022-23 financial year, Rehabs UK discovered that:

  • Alcohol-related admissions dropped by nearly a quarter (24.8%) year-on-year whilst drug-related admittances decreased by 17.5%.
  • Drug-related admissions for those under the age of 18 spiked, making up 1 in 10 admittances.
  • A disproportionate number of men are being treated, accounting for more than 4 in 5 admissions tied to alcohol and 3 in 5 involving drugs.

Lester Morse, recovery coach and director of Rehabs UK, explains why these figures are a cause for concern,

Whilst NHS admissions have declined, our addiction treatment advisors are reporting a massive increase in the public turning to the private sector for treatment, with a large number of people stating that they no longer see the NHS as a place you can go to for help with addiction.

Lester Morse, director of Rehabs UK

Callers to Rehabs UK’s telephone service are reporting NHS services as having too many barriers, being too slow and the treatment being ineffective. The new data supports this, with a 4.6% rise in those being put on a waiting list for drug-related admissions.

Just last week, Rehabs UK spoke to a family whose son sadly took his own life, exhausted from being unable to access the help he needed. After being refused residential rehab, the cost of private healthcare was inaccessible to the family.

Morse adds,

I want to make it clear that what people are telling us is that the NHS treatment currently being offered is very minimal, and those dealing with substance abuse are not being treated effectively until it is too late, often waiting years getting worse whilst supposedly receiving help. Whilst cutbacks, industrial action and fall-out from the pandemic have made the problem worse, people with addiction seem to be way down the government’s list of priorities.

This is not the only concern stemming from these new figures – an alarming trend is the number of children and teenagers being admitted for drug-related factors. The data shows that under 18’s account for 1 in 10 drug-related hospital admissions, having risen from last year. Recently, Rehabs UK has seen a rise in family members seeking treatment and advice for young people abusing Ketamine.

In addition to young people, a disproportionate number of men are being admitted for drug and alcohol-related reasons, accounting for more than 4 in 5 admissions tied to alcohol and 3 in 5 involving drugs. Historically, Morse has experienced a larger number of men than women in addiction treatment, with more men seemingly abusing substances addictively. Unfortunately, men have stereotypically been grouped as less vulnerable which can result in even further limitations with accessing support and treatment, however, this is slowly starting to change in modern society.

Sadly, this data proves that people are losing heart in the NHS and having to turn to private healthcare to meet their needs. With such high numbers of young and male admissions, action must be taken to help and support vulnerable members of our society, with private healthcare simply not an option for many.

Editor at Workplace Wellbeing Professional | Website | + posts

Joanne is the editor for Workplace Wellbeing Professional and has a keen interest in promoting the safety and wellbeing of the global workforce. After earning a bachelor's degree in English literature and media studies, she taught English in China and Vietnam for two years. Before joining Work Well Pro, Joanne worked as a marketing coordinator for luxury property, where her responsibilities included blog writing, photography, and video creation.