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Cheap drink 'fuels alcohol abuse'


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The Government will fail to win the war against excessive drinking unless it takes tough action on the sale of cut-price alcohol, doctors have said. Doctors says action is needed to tackle cut-priced alcohol sales.


More also needs to be done to tackle round-the-clock availability of alcohol, they said.


A survey of NHS staff who deal with people affected by drinking found that 85% thought public health campaigns were ineffective.


Instead, the Government must implement strict measures to clamp down on the sale of cheap alcohol in bars and supermarkets, the majority said.


The poll of 205 specialists, including gastroenterologists, hepatologists and nurses, was carried out by the Royal College of Physicians and the Royal College of Nursing.


It will come as a blow to the drinks industry, which has come under repeated fire for selling alcohol as a loss-leader.


The latest poll found that 73% of doctors and nurses believe action is needed on low-priced alcohol to help reduce the harm it causes.


Around eight out of 10 (81%) said they thought people would drink less if alcohol was more expensive. And 90% believed all alcohol should be labelled with unit information and sensible drinking guidelines.


When it came to the care of people who abuse alcohol, 71% said more resources were needed for treatment, and 88% said funding had not kept up with demand or services were suffering from under-investment.


Professor Ian Gilmore, president of the Royal College of Physicians and chair of the Alcohol Health Alliance, said: "While informing the public through health campaigns is important, these findings shows that frontline doctors and nurses treating patients with drink problems do not believe that this enough to reverse our binge-drinking culture and must be linked to tough actions on cheap alcohol and round-the-clock availability."

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