Where now, UK alcohol policy?

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Dr Jane Marshall

Consultant Psychiatrist

Jane has been a Consultant Psychiatrist and Senior Lecturer in the Addictions at the South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust (SLaM) and the National Addiction Centre, London since 1994.

She is clinical lead for a specialist out-patient consultation and treatment service for addicted healthcare professionals at SLaM and was a member of the Department of Health Working Group that developed the specification for the Practitioner Health Programme (PHP).She currently works at PHP for 2 days per week.

Jane is a Medical Supervisor and Examiner for the General Medical Council and is also a Psychiatrist Advisor to the Civil Aviation Authority. Research interests include the evaluation of treatment for alcohol problems in specialist and generalist settings and, in particular, treatment for addicted healthcare professionals.


Where now, UK alcohol policy?


The main focus of the UK government’s Alcohol Strategy, published in March 2012, is on public order issues. It includes a commitment to a minimum unit price for alcohol and the delegation of more powers locally to control the density of licensed premises. Clear intended outcomes include the reduction in the number of adults drinking above NHS guidelines, a reduction in the number of binge drinkers and a reduction in the number of alcohol-related deaths. Alcohol-related admissions will be included in the Public Health Outcomes Framework. The Strategy envisages that Public Health England will facilitate the analysis of the true public health impact of alcohol consumption. The role of industry in changing individual drinking behaviour is acknowledged as is the need to support individuals to make informed choices about healthier and responsible drinking.

The talk will review the various strands of the strategy in the context of the evidence base and alcohol as a leading risk factor for the global burden of disease. Is localism the right direction for alcohol policy or is it just expedient? Are there lessons to be learned from Scotland and France? Why the reluctance to reduce the drink-driving level? 


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