Consultation on the National Statistics definition of alcohol-related deaths

Closed 31 Aug 2017

Opened 28 Jun 2017

Feedback Updated 6 Oct 2017

We Asked

We asked for people’s views on which causes of death are appropriate to include in the National Statistics definition of deaths related to the misuse of alcohol.

We hoped that the consultation would result in a harmonised approach, across government and the devolved administrations, to measuring deaths which are wholly attributable to the misuse of alcohol.  

You Said

We received 20 responses to the consultation from a range of organisations including academics, government departments and agencies, and charities. The main feedback was:

  • respondents strongly supported the need for a harmonised approach across government to measuring deaths caused by alcohol misuse;
  • the majority of respondents recommended that ONS use a revised indicator of alcohol-specific deaths;
  • several respondents voiced concern with excluding unspecified hepatitis and cirrhosis and fibrosis of the liver from the revised indicator, noting that more UK based evidence on the aetiology of these deaths is needed before they are discounted entirely.  

We Did

We intend to:

  • use a revised definition of alcohol-specific deaths from the date of our next publication. This definition will also be used respond to Parliamentary Questions, and to media and customer data requests;
  • publish a brief article to communicate the definition change, the reasons for it, and its impact on the existing time series;
  • in the first publication based on the new definition, include figures on the previous definition. Subsequently, ONS will no longer publish statistics based on the previous definition;
  • in each statistical release we will report deaths from unspecified hepatitis and cirrhosis and fibrosis of the liver – for information. We will also signpost to published data which shows the wider burden of alcohol misuse on other causes of death;
  • facilitate further work with public health agencies and the devolved administrations to ensure greater consistency in terminology.

Results Updated 6 Oct 2017

Files:

Overview

Please note, the closing date of the consultation has been extended to 31/8/17 in order to provide respondents with more time. 

Office for National Statistics (ONS) reports annual trends on deaths associated with alcohol consumption using a National Statistics (NS) definition of alcohol-related deaths. ONS also use this definition to respond to Parliamentary Questions, and to the media and customer data requests.

The current NS definition intends to identify deaths from conditions for which most are due to alcohol. Different definitions are used across government, including government agencies and the devolved administrations, to measure alcohol-related mortality, with the total number of deaths varying substantially. 

This consultation aims to review which causes of death are appropriate to include in the NS definition, with the view to having a single harmonised approach. 

To take part in this consultation, please review the attached consultation document and then record your responses via link below. The data associated with the commentary in the consultation document has also been attached. 

Audiences

  • Analysts
  • Academics
  • Charities
  • Government
  • Health professionals
  • Local government
  • Policy managers
  • Researchers
  • Statisticians

Interests

  • Health
  • Statistics