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24.10.17

BMA: Welsh minimum price alcohol bill will save lives

The introduction of a law to set a minimum price for units of alcohol in Wales has been welcomed by doctors.

The legislation, which is currently being discussed by the Welsh Government, would see each unit of alcohol given a 50p minimum cost.

Ministers have said the proposed bill could save one life every week and reduce hospital admissions by 1,400 patients a year.

BMA Wales agreed with the plans and said the law could go on to save lives. The Welsh doctors’ organisation says that sub-50p alcohol makes up 72% of beer sales in the country’s shops and supermarkets, with 54,000 related hospital admissions in 2015-16.

“We wholeheartedly welcome the introduction of the Public Health Bill by the Welsh Government,” commented Dr David Bailey, chair of the BMA’s Welsh Council.

“BMA Wales has previously called for such measures to ensure that alcohol cannot be sold below cost – in effect, making it cheaper than water to purchase. We believe that the minimum price should be no less than 50p per unit.

“Whilst alcohol in moderation forms part of many people's social behaviour, alcohol excess or addiction destroys lives. It is associated with crime, violence and anti-social behaviour, and can impact significantly on family and community life.

“We believe that such a move will save lives through a reduction in alcohol consumption and firmly upholds people’s health as a priority in Wales.”

Earlier this year, British doctors called for the introduction of such legislation across the UK. Sheffield University’s Alcohol Research Group revealed that drinking could cost the NHS £17bn over the next five years.

Top image: gilaxia

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