Minimum alcohol price 'a major step forward', say GP leaders

Ministers are set to announce plans for a minimum price for a unit of alcohol on Wednesday, a move welcomed by the RCGP and other health bodies.

Alcohol: GPs back minimum pricing as step forward
Alcohol: GPs back minimum pricing as step forward

Members of the Alcohol Health Alliance UK including the RCGP and the BMA said a 50p minimum unit price would prevent more than 3,000 alcohol-related deaths per year.

The government is expected to set out its proposals in a consultation later on Wednesday.

RCGP chairwoman Dr Clare Gerada said: ‘GPs are not killjoys, we want people to be healthy and enjoy their lives. But every day in our surgeries, we are witnessing the devastating physical and emotional effects that alcohol abuse has on individuals and their families. We also see the enormous financial drain it places on the NHS.'

She said minimum pricing would be a 'a major step forward' and would bring about a change in people's attitudes to drinking. 'This will reduce hospital admissions, improve people's physical and mental health, and ultimately save lives.’

Predictions suggest 90,000 people will die unnecessarily due to alcohol over the next 10 years.

There have been calls for ministers to follow the lead of the Scottish government, which outlined plans for a 50p minimum price per unit earlier this year.

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