MEN and women over 50 are increasingly being admitted to hospital because of drinking-related conditions, campaigners and medics say.

The North-East Alcohol Office, Balance, said more than half of all alcohol-related hospital admissions in the region were for people aged over 50.

Meanwhile, a report by the British Medical Journal found a strong upward national trend of heavy drinking among the over 50s.

Balance said despite falls in the rates of younger people in the North-East admitted to hospital for alcohol-related conditions, admissions for people over the age of 50 had risen from around a third (35 per cent) of the total in 2006/07 to more than half (51 per cent) in a decade.

It renewed calls for the Government to introduce “targeted, evidence based” measures including a minimum unit price on alcohol, which it said would reduce hospital admissions, cut crime and ease the burden of emergency services.

Director of Balance Colin Shevills said: “While we often see younger people as having problems with alcohol, we’re now seeing serious consequences for an older generation who have had easy access to increasingly affordable alcohol over the past 30 odd years.”

Mr Shevills added: “We need to bring alcohol harms under control by making alcohol less affordable, available and widely promoted.”