NEW figures show that the North-East continues to have the highest rate of alcohol-related hospital admissions – with figures almost doubling over the past ten years.

In 2012/13 there were 67,570 alcohol-related hospital admissions in the North-East, compared to 34,210 in 2003/04 – a 98 per cent increase.

However, there has been a slight decrease in the number of people admitted into the region’s hospitals due to alcohol since 2011/12 – with 2,630 fewer admissions.

Colin Shevills, director of Balance, the North-East alcohol office, said: “Our partners and frontline services work extremely hard to reduce the impact that alcohol has on the health and wellbeing of the North-East and in the past year we’ve seen a glimmer of hope, with a slight decrease in admissions which is encouraging.

“However, it is still worrying that we continue to remain at the top of the tables for alcohol harms – clearly more needs to be done. This isn’t something that can be tackled at just a regional level and we need evidence-based measures such as a minimum unit price to ensure these rates continue to fall.

“The fact is that too many people are drinking too much too often and it is having a devastating impact on the region.”