Call for drink licence reform5th November 2007
Dr Ruth Hussey, director of public health for north-west England, has said that officials should consider alcohol's impact on health before granting drinking licences.
She said the fact that people were surrounded by places to drink in their local areas provided the impetus and encouragement for them to drink.
Dr Hussey said: "It's the environment that you're in that either makes it hard for you to follow a healthy lifestyle, or it makes it easy to follow a healthy lifestyle."
She added that living in an area where excessive drinking was the norm made it more difficult for someone to make their own mind up about drinking.
She also made the suggestion that the number of alcohol-related accident and emergency admissions should be examined before new licences were granted.
Dr Hussey's suggestions were supported by the president of the Royal College of Physicians, liver specialist Professor Ian Gilmore.
He said that excessive alcohol consumption was "dominating" doctors' caseloads in hospitals and that incidences of liver cirrhosis had doubled over the last decade.
"I am certainly concerned that the changes in licensing laws in this country didn't take account of the needs of public health," he said.
Mark Hastings, of the British Beer and Pub Association, called Dr Hussey's suggestions "barmy" and impractical.
He said that there was no proven link between the amount of licenced establishments in one area "with the amount people drink."
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Title: Call for drink licence reform
Author: Jess Laurence
Article Id: 4667
Date Added: 5th Nov 2007