HOSPITAL admissions caused by alcohol-related liver disease in Worcestershire have rocketed over the last five years.

Liver experts at the Institute of Hepatology have called on the Government to set a minimum price per unit of alcohol to discourage drinking.

The latest data from Public Health England shows that the rate has gone up to 49 patients admitted for every 100,000 people between April 2016 and March 2017 – 93 per cent higher than five years earlier.

That means that 293 people in Worcestershire were admitted due to this condition in 2016-17.

The rate for the whole of England is 39 for every 100,000 people, but it ranges from different regions.

The data shows that men are twice as likely as women to receive hospital treatment for this illness across the country.

Socioeconomic status is also a factor.

The rate of alcohol-related liver disease admissions among the most deprived in society is 57 for every 100,000 people, but is below 29 for the most well off.

A spokesperson for Public Health England said: "Liver disease is one of the top causes of death in England and people are dying from it at younger ages. Most liver disease is preventable and much is influenced by alcohol consumption and obesity prevalence."

In 2014, the Lancet Commission on alcohol-related liver diseases estimated that health problems caused by alcohol are costing the NHS £3.5 billion a year.

Professor Roger Williams, director of the Institute of Hepatology, proposed setting a minimum price per unit of alcohol to curb drinking.

"Liver disease mortality rates have increased about 600 per cent in the last 50 years. That happens because alcohol consumption among the population has increased and this is linked to the fact that the costs of alcoholic drinks proportionally have fallen.

"Setting a minimum alcohol price is a highly effective way of dealing with the problem. In Canada, they had a 14 per cent drop in emergency admissions and 8 per cent drop in mortality in the first 12 months after setting this minimum."

Scotland adopted this measure in May, setting a 50 pence minimum price per unit of alcohol.

The Welsh Government is planning to implement the same lowest price next summer.

The NHS says alcohol-related liver disease doesn't usually cause any symptoms until the liver has been severely damaged.

When that happens symptoms can include feeling sick, weight loss, loss of appetite and yellowing of the eyes and skin.