Scottish politicians must drive forward action on alcohol

Scottish politicians must continue to drive forward action on reducing harm from alcohol following the failure to introduce minimum pricing, a group of GPs has argued.

Writing in the British Journal of General Practice, the team involved in the Deep End Project said GPs were ‘only too aware’ of the limited impact of service developments introduced to date.

In November 2010, Scottish parliament MPs rejected plans for a minimum price on alcohol. Last month, the Scottish National Party pledged to re-introduce the plans in parliament in September.

The Deep End Project involves GPs working in the 100 most deprived practices in Scotland, with support from the Scottish Government, RCGP Scotland and Glasgow Centre for Population Health.
The activities of the project are coordinated by Professor Graham Watt of the University of Glasgow.

Writing on behalf of the project, Professor Watt said GPs working in the most deprived areas of Scotland had ‘special experience of the problems of alcohol’.

This was a result of ‘the huge, recent, and increasing importance of excessive alcohol consumption as a cause of premature death, physical illness and social harm affecting young patients,’ he said.

‘Politicians in Scotland and England have still to engage seriously with the issue of minimal alcohol pricing,’ he said. ‘If this is not the solution, what do they suggest?’

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