The majority of GPs disagree with the Chief Medical Officers’ statement that there is no safe level of alcohol consumption, according to research undertaken on behalf of CAMRA, the Campaign for Real Ale.
A recent poll conducted by medeConnect showed that 60% of the GPs surveyed disagreed with the statement that there is no safe level of alcohol consumption. It also found that almost two thirds (63%) of the GPs considered that moderate alcohol consumption can be part of a healthy lifestyle.
The new alcohol guidance published by the Chief Medical Officer in January breaks with common international practice by providing the same guidelines for men and women; adopting a very low threshold of 14 units per week and stating that there is no safe level of alcohol consumption.
Numerous scientific studies have shown that moderate drinking can have a protective effect against various health problems including cardiovascular disease, cognitive decline and certain forms of cancer. However, this is ignored in the new alcohol guidelines.
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 that moderate drinking can have a beneficial effect.
“Only recently, we commissioned a report from Oxford University ‘Friends on Tap’ which found that those who had frequented a local pub were happier, healthier and felt more integrated in their communities than those without.
“Furthermore, research has shown that the mortality rate of moderate drinkers is lower than those who abstain altogether.
“It therefore is no surprise that this survey has illustrated that GPs overwhelmingly believe that a moderate consumption of alcohol can be part of a good and healthy lifestyle.’
CAMRA are calling on the Department of Health to launch a full public consultation into whether the new alcohol health guidelines are fit for purpose and adequately supported by evidence.