BMA calls for minimum price for alcohol throughout UK

The BMA has praised Scottish government plans for a 45p minimum alcohol unit price, and has urged other UK administrations to follow suit.

The call comes as new data show a 6 per cent fall in alcohol consumption, but a rise of 9.5 per cent in alcohol-related hospital admissions.

The BMA's chairman in Scotland, Dr Brian Keighley, said minimum unit pricing would prevent 50 deaths in its first year, adding: 'It will reduce the toll of alcohol on the health service, saving the NHS in excess of £80 million.'

A BMA UK spokesman said: 'We would urge the other UK governments to follow the example set by Scotland. There is strong scientific evidence that increasing price reduces rates of alcohol-related problems, particularly among young people.'

However, the DoH has no plans to introduce minimum unit pricing in England. A spokesman said: 'We will work to stop the below-cost price sale of alcohol. It is not clear that national minimum unit pricing is the best way to achieve this.'

Figures from the British Beer & Pub Association (BPPA) show an average of 8.4 litres of pure alcohol was consumed per head in 2009, down 6 per cent from 8.9 litres in 2008.

Brigid Simmonds, chief executive of the BBPA, said: 'These figures confirm that as a nation, we are not drinking more. Policymakers should take note.'

Despite the fall in intake, there has been a 9.5 per cent rise in alcohol-related hospital admissions, according to North West Public Health Observatory figures for the year ending March 2009.

Have you registered with us yet?

Register now to enjoy more articles and free email bulletins

Register

Already registered?

Sign in

Before commenting please read our rules for commenting on articles.

If you see a comment you find offensive, you can flag it as inappropriate. In the top right-hand corner of an individual comment, you will see 'flag as inappropriate'. Clicking this prompts us to review the comment. For further information see our rules for commenting on articles.

comments powered by Disqus