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Blair 'fails to grasp alcohol problems'

by Anonymous reporter; netdoctor.co.uk; 1/27/2005.
Originally posted: 1/26/2005; [
www.doctordeluca.com/Library/AbstinenceHR/BlairFailsToGraspAlcProb05.htm].


Tony Blair fails to understand the seriousness of the nation's alcohol problems, leading doctors said yesterday.

A conference at the Royal College of Physicians criticised Government policies, which concentrated on the effects of excessive drinking on crime and disorder rather than its harmful effects on health.

Dr Michael Hellier, president of the British Society of Gastroenterology, which jointly organised the conference, criticised Mr Blair's description of alcohol misuse by a "small minority" in the Alcohol Harm Reduction Strategy for England published last year.

"Alcohol misuse costs the NHS about 2 billion a year, accounts for 70 per cent of cases in A&E after midnight and is responsible for 150,000 admissions a year. I would not call this a small minority issue.

"Mr Blair was either misinformed or failed to grasp the gravity of the problem," Dr Hellier said.

Prof Chris Day, of the University of Newcastle upon Tyne, said that between two and 12 per cent of the NHS budget went directly or indirectly on treating injury and diseases caused by alcohol.

Dr Nick Sheron, a member of the college's alcohol committee, said the Government should do more to publicise the harm that alcohol could do.

"It is a myth that alcohol affects only a tiny minority," he said.

 Source: Financial Times Information Limited - Europe Intelligence Wire.

[END]

 

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Originally posted:  1/26/2005

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