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Alcohol abuse prompts call for “booze clinic” in London

8 May 2009

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The increasing number of alcohol-related accidents and deaths in London has prompted a call for a dedicated “booze clinic” to take the pressure off emergency services.

Brian Hayes, a team leader at Waterloo ambulance station, has appealed to MPs to provide a specialist alcohol-abuse unit in the capital`s West End.

He is supported by Robin Touquet, professor of emergency medicine at St Mary’s Hospital, who blames the 24-hour availability of alcohol for encouraging binge drinking.

He says: “The perniciousness is that young people feel that no government would give 24-hour availability at cheap prices if alcohol was dangerous. After all, they wouldn’t do that for heroin or cocaine, but they do it for alcohol, so alcohol must be safe.”

Mr Hayes told MPs that the “target culture” in hospital accident-and-emergency units means that drinkers are often discharged without having received any alcohol-abuse help or advice.

What is needed, he says, is a specialist unit that can educate people about the dangers of alcohol and try to prevent them becoming long-term casualties.

Copyright © Press Association 2009

Department of Health

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“Specialised alcohol clinics are a great idea, and pubs and clubs in the area should be asked to contribute some kind of fee to help provide this service” – Kay Totten, Forth Valley