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Doctors warn over cheap alcohol

Any attempt to clamp down on excessive drinking will fail unless the government takes tough action against cut-price alcohol, doctors have warned.

A poll of NHS staff by the Royal College of Nursing and Royal College of Physicians found that 85% believe health campaigns have been ineffective.

The survey covered 205 health specialists, including nurses, gastroenterologists and hepatologists, who deal with people affected by drinking.

Most insisted that for campaigns to do any good they must include strict measures to prevent the sale of loss-leading cheap alcohol in bars and shops.

The survey cited an Institute of Alcohol Studies report of findings by the Competition Commission that five supermarkets sold £38.6m of below-cost alcohol during the 2006 World Cup.

Among those polled, three quarters believed that low-priced alcohol must be controlled, eight out of 10 thought that people would drink less if it cost more, and 90% said that alcohol should be labelled with unit information and guidelines for sensible drinking.

Copyright © Press Association 2009

Royal College of Nursing

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"No, the young peolple will club together to buy a bottle of whichever alcohol will give them the desired effect." - Heather Francis, Hertfordshire