Nice gets tough on drinkers

Drinkers could face tougher questioning from GPs according to the Nice guidelines
Drinkers could face tougher questioning from GPs according to the Nice guidelines

By Ian Dunt

An influential health watchdog has demanded minimum prices on alcohol and tough questions from GPs to patients on their intake as part of a drive to cut down on alcohol-related deaths.

The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (Nice) guidance also suggests a ban on advertising, restrictions on how much booze holidaymakers can bring back to the UK and a reduction on the number of outlets where alcohol is on sale.

But the minimum pricing proposal has dominated much of the media's attention, coming on the back of moves to attach a baseline price to alcohol in Scotland.


"We have a particular problem with alcohol misuse in the UK and it's costing us dear," Scottish health secretary Nicola Sturgeon told the Today programme.

"What you do see in UK is that as alcohol has become more affordable consumption has increased. There's a clear relationship between price and consumption."

Research by Dr Robin Purshouse of Sheffield University for the Scottish government suggests a minimum price on every unit of alcohol of 40p would cut 1,000 premature deaths a year.

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