Wednesday 2 June 2010

The best medicine

From The Telegraph:

Doctors should ask patients about their drinking more often, says Nice

All patients are to be routinely questioned by their doctors about their alcohol consumption under new Government plans to tackle the country's problem drinking culture.

I can only point you to the genius of Matt:


Anonymous said...

I believe this move is deliberately designed to undermine the remaining respect the public has for the medical profession.
Patients will lie.
Patients will feel intruded upon, judged and resentful.
Patients will begin to see their doctor's treatment of them as conditional on "good behaviour".

I am sure there are lots more negative reactions I have omitted to mention. This inane suggestion will drive a wedge between practioner and patient. One can only speculate as to what the consequences will be. Not good I am sure.

Anonymous said...

Slightly OT. Statistics by country for alcohol consumption, incidence of alcoholic liver disease and various other things alcoholic can be found at:
I'm never confident as to how accurate these figures are, but one of the aspects I was interested in was whether high prices and strict regulation caused widespread smuggling, homebrewing and distilling and figures pertaining to this are given. It seems to be the case. Sweden has recorded/unrecorded yearly per capita pure alcohol consumption of 6.7/3.6. cf. UK 11.7/1.7; Fr 13.3/0.4; Ger 11.8/1.0.
The UK, France and Germany have broadly equal total consumption, but with the split depending on price. Sweden does have a far lower rate of ALD than the UK, France and Germany. UK alcohol consumption is now stable at the German level, which has been falling. This suggests an increase in ALD for the next few years, eventally plateauing somewhere below the current German level (German level has been falling). Introducing a minimum price of 50p per unit (£4.88 for a 13% ABV bottle of wine) could result in the widespread production of homemade alcohol with perhaps only a small decrease in total consumption. Is this something we should be concerned about?

Carl V Phillips said...

As an interesting experiment, try telling a MD that you drink at the upper end of the optimal level -- e.g., as an average-sized man, respond to "how many drinks do you have a month" with 50-60 -- and watch them gasp and criticize you. That is a perfectly acceptable amount based on the research (so long as it is fairly uniform and not a once-per-week binge), and a lot of people drink a lot more, but almost no one ever says they drink that much. Since physicians mostly only know what they hear, and know little of actual epidemiology, they have no idea that this number is fine.