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.

According to the survey of 1006 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 that 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.

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

It found that 60 per cent strongly or somewhat disagreed with the sentiment that there was no safe level of alcohol consumption, while 30 per cent agreed. It also showed that 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 that moderate drinking can have a protective effect against various 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 that moderate drinking can have a beneficial effect.

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“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.”

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.

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