Alcohol unit pricing will save many lives

  • Post category:World News

We urge the government to bring back plans for minimum unit pricing and follow the example of Ireland, which has announced its intention to press ahead with this measure. With Ireland joining Scotland in taking bold action to protect the health of their most vulnerable and the Welsh government voicing strong support, England will be left behind on one of the most important health issues of our time if the British government fails to bring back plans for minimum unit pricing (Britain faces liver disease ‘epidemic’, Society, 13 November).

Source: Letter to The Guardian

Alcohol misuse costs dearly. Every year thousands of lives are lost and our health service is straining under the burden. Alcohol is linked to 60 different health conditions. A&E admissions have increased to crisis level and liver disease is the only major cause of death increasing year on year. Approximately half of all crime is alcohol-related and one in three people won’t visit their local high street on a Friday or Saturday night because of alcohol-fuelled disorder. Alcohol is related to a whole host of other issues such as teenage pregnancy, domestic violence and child protection cases. The government has estimated the cost of alcohol to the UK to be more than  £21bn a year.

The public health community will continue its campaign to persuade Westminster of the need for minimum unit pricing and we hope that it will follow the lead of colleagues in the Scottish and Irish parliaments in acting to break this cycle of alcohol harm. They must act now to save lives.

Ian Gilmore Chair of the Alcohol Health Alliance, president of the British Society of Gastroenterology and special adviser on Alcohol to the Royal College of Physicians
Eric Appleby Chief executive, Alcohol Concern
Katherine Brown Director of policy, Institute of Alcohol Studies
Dr Nick Sheron University of Southampton
Colin Shevills Director of Balance
Dr Evelyn Gillan Chief executive, Alcohol Focus Scotland
Andrew Langford Chief executive, British Liver Trust
Dr Kieran Moriarty British Society of Gastroenterology
Hazel Parsons Director, Drink Wise North West
Dr Cliff Mann President, College of Emergency Medicine
Tom Smith Chief executive, British Society of Gastroenterology
Dr Zul Mirza College of Emergency Medicine
Jonathan Shepherd Professor of oral and maxillofacial surgery and director of the Violence Research Group, Cardiff University
Professor Colin Drummond Chairman, Medical Council on Alcohol
Professor John Ashton President, Faculty of Public Health
Professor Linda Bauld UK Centre for Tobacco and Alcohol Studies
Dr Dominique Florin Medical director, Medical Council on Alcohol
Dr Peter Rice Chair, Scottish Health Action on Alcohol Problems
Paul Lincoln Chief executive, UK Health Forum
Dr Chris Record Consultant hepatologist, Newcastle upon Tyne
Dr Peter Carter Chief executive and general secretary, Royal College of Nursing
Dr Adrian Boyle Chair, clinical effectiveness committee, College of Emergency Medicine
Dr Francis Keaney Vice-chair, faculty of addictions, Royal College of Psychiatrists
Susan Fleisher Executive director, National Organisation for Fetal Alcohol Syndrome
Terry Martin Trustee, alcoHELP
Shirley Cramer Chief executive, Royal Society for Public Health
Dr Helen Toal Consultant psychiatrist in addictions, Belfast Health and Social Care Trust
Dr J-P van Besouw President, Royal College of Anaesthetists