According to government figures published today, 811,000 people were admitted to hospital with alcohol misuse problems in 2006 in England. The figures hide the individual tragedies that hospital frontline staff see everyday, says the British Medical Association (BMA).

Dr Vivienne Nathanson Head of Science and Ethics, BMA, said “While this figure is rightly very frightening and shocking, it also hides the hundreds and thousands of individual tragedies that doctors witness every day. Alcohol misuse is related to over 60 medical conditions including heart and liver disease, diabetes, strokes and mental health problems – it costs the NHS millions of pounds every year and is linked to accidents and street violence. The truth is there is nothing glamorous about drinking too much alcohol – it wrecks health, lives and families.

“The BMA will be responding in full to the government’s consultation on alcohol and we will certainly be backing tough action like introducing mandatory regulation and labelling and restricting ‘happy hours’ and irresponsible drinks promotions . There can be no more softly, softly approach. The access and affordability of alcohol must be tackled head on.”

About the BMA

The British Medical Association is the doctors’ professional organisation established to look after the professional and personal needs of our members. The BMA represents doctors in all branches of medicine all over the UK.

We are a voluntary association with over two-thirds of practising UK doctors in membership and an independent trade union dedicated to protecting individual members and the collective interests of doctors.

Written by Christian Nordqvist