Public health officials push for separate tills for alcohol sales

Supermarkets in Cumbria will have to sell alcohol from separate tills under proposals from local public health officials.

The PCT is trying to ‘denormalise’ alcohol, rather than to be ‘vehemently anti-alcohol’. (SPL)
The PCT is trying to ‘denormalise’ alcohol, rather than to be ‘vehemently anti-alcohol’. (SPL)

In its response to applications for new supermarkets, NHS Cumbria will recommend that alcohol should be sold separately from food and soft drinks.

NHS Cumbria public health department is using its new role as a consultee on licensing applications across the county to introduce the measure.

Cumbria’s associate director of public health Dr Nigel Calvert, who trained as a GP, said action was needed to ensure buying alcohol did not become routine.

‘We have to make it clear to shoppers that buying beer wine or spirits this is not a normal, routine purchase,’ he said. ‘Introducing separate tills at supermarkets would differentiate between a pint of beer and routine purchases like a pint of milk.’

He added: ‘We hope supermarket chains and local licensing committee’s will consider alcohol-only tills as part of any plans for new stores in Cumbria.’

A spokesman for NHS Cumbria said the county has a particular problem with alcohol and that the PCT was trying to ‘denormalise’ alcohol, rather than to be ‘vehemently anti-alcohol’.

There are more than 12,000 alcohol-related hospital admissions each year in Cumbria and around one in four people routinely drink at levels that are harmful to their health, he added.

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