Doctors pour scorn on Government's alcohol advice

Doctors are at odds with the UK's Chief Medical Officers over the amount of alcohol it is safe to drink, a new poll of GPs has revealed.

Friday, 27th May 2016, 8:00 pm
Drinking in moderation can be good for you - doctors

According to the survey of 1,006 doctors, almost two thirds (60 per cent) of them disagree with the CMOs’ statement that there is no safe level of alcohol consumption, and many believe alcohol can form part of a healthy lifestyle.

The revelation comes after the CMOs’ new guidelines on alcohol suggested that, due to the risk of developing certain cancers, there was no level of regular drinking that can be considered as completely safe.

The study of GPs from across the UK was conducted on behalf of Camra, the Campaign for Real Ale by pollsters medeConnect.

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It found 60 per cent strongly or somewhat disagreed with the sentiment there was no safe level of alcohol consumption, while 30 per cent agreed. It also showed 63 per cent strongly or somewhat agreed that moderate alcohol consumption could be part of a healthy lifestyle.

According to Camra, scientific studies have shown moderate drinking can have a protective effect against health problems including cardiovascular disease, cognitive decline and certain forms of cancer.

CAMRA’s national chairman, Colin Valentine said: “We made the observation when the new guidelines were published that the Chief Medical Officers had ignored evidence which showed moderate drinking can have a beneficial effect.

“Only recently, we commissioned a report from Oxford University ‘Friends on Tap’ which found those who had frequented a local pub were happier, healthier and felt more integrated in their communities than those without.

“Furthermore, research has shown the mortality rate of moderate drinkers is lower than those who abstain altogether.

“It therefore is no surprise this survey has illustrated that GPs overwhelmingly believe a moderate consumption of alcohol can be part of a good and healthy lifestyle.”

The new alcohol guidance published by the CMOs also lowered the recommended consumption levels for men 14 units per week, bringing it in line with the recommended amount for women.