Professor Ian Gilmore, chairman of the Alcohol Health Alliance, spoke out to blame the off-trade for a rise in alcohol-related hospital admissions. Gilmore told BBC 5 Live that the problem was “fuelled by deep discounting of alcohol in supermarkets and off licences”. The comments came as the NHS published figures showing that the number of people admitted to hospital due to drinking too much alcohol had more than doubled in England since 1995. The research by the NHS Information Centre found that the figure had soared to 207,800 people from the 93,500 recorded in 1995-96 and had risen 7% from the 193,640 people admitted in 2005-06. Gilmore admitted to sympathising with pubs and their plight and said that the focus should be on the tactics used by the off-trade. He said: “I do have some sympathy with the pubs and there are pubs going out of business every day. “If we can tackle the heavy discounting in supermarket and off licences that will be a very significant step forward.” The data, which covered the first full year after the introduction of the new licensing laws in 2005, found that incidences of drinking among young people were up, with nearly one in 10 (4,888) of those hospitalised last year shown to be under-18. Tim Straughan, chief executive of the NHS Information Centre, said: “This report shows alcohol is placing an increasing burden right across the NHS – from the GP surgery to the hospital bed. “These rises paint a worrying picture about the relationship between the population and the bottle.”