Media & Press

Response to Government plans on alcohol unit pricing

17th January 2011

Responding to the Government's plans to introduce a minimum unit price for alcohol, Professor Jon Rhodes, President of the British Society of Gastroenterology says:

"The Government's announcement on a minimum unit price for alcohol is a step in the right direction but will ultimately not have the desired impact on health outcomes it so passionately pursues through its wider reforms of the NHS. Liver deaths have doubled in the last fifteen years and to make a real impact on alcohol-related mortality and morbidity a much bolder step is required.

While no policy measure should be taken in isolation, research commissioned by the Dept of Health demonstrated that a minimum unit price of 20, 30, 40 and 50p will prevent 30, 300, 1300 and 3300 deaths  respectively. In response, the Government has decided to set the minimum price at 21p for beer and 28p for spirits.

It's encouraging that the Government are willing to take action but unfortunately this doesn't seem to be more than a token gesture rather than one that will actually make a real difference."

NOTES

The British Society of Gastroenterology is an organisation focused on the promotion of high standards for clinical services, research, training and education in gastroenterology and hepatology within the UK. It has over three thousand members drawn from the ranks of physicians, surgeons, pathologists, radiologists, scientists, nurses, dietitians, and others interested in the field. Founded in 1937 it has grown from a club to be a major force in British medicine.

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