BMA lobbying

Reducing alcohol-related harm in England

A wide-ranging approach to reducing alcohol-related harm is needed covering the availability, affordability and marketing of alcohol as well as support for healthcare professionals.

Location: England
Audience: Public health doctors
Updated: Monday 18 October 2021
Topics: Population health
Public Health Article Illustration

Tackling alcohol-related harm in England

The forthcoming alcohol strategy in England represents an important opportunity for the Government to commit to a comprehensive and effective range of measures to tackle alcohol-related harm.

What you will get from this report

  • Information on the range of key policy responses needed.
  • Necessary measures to tackle the affordability and availability of alcohol in England.

Key points

  • Alcohol is readily available, increasing affordable and heavily marketed as an accepted part of modern life. Yet, the health harms of alcohol are widely known.
  • There are over 7,500 deaths from alcohol related causes every year and over 1 million alcohol related hospital admissions.
  • Alcohol is causally linked to over 60 different medical conditions including liver damage, brain damage, poisoning, stroke, abdominal disorders and certain cancers.
  • Given the increasing affordability, availability and significant harm caused by alcohol, there are a range of actions needed including effective regulation, such as the introduction of a MUP, as well as increases in alcohol duty and restrictions on marketing of alcohol products.


Preventing and managing fetal alcohol spectrum disorders

In an update to our 2007 report, we outline the responsibilities of healthcare professionals and policy makers to improve the prevention, diagnosis and management of fetal alcohol spectrum disorders.

What you will get from this report

  • An update to our 2007 report Fetal alcohol spectrum disorders.
  • A summary of the international evidence on the effects and consequences of alcohol on a baby before birth.
  • Case studies from individuals who have been personally impacted by FASD (fetal alcohol syndrome disorders).
  • Recommendations on actions to take to tackle the harms caused by FASD including diagnosis, treatment, research and education.

Key findings

  • FASD are completely preventable through the elimination of drinking during pregnancy.
  • There is a lack of reliable and consistent data on FASD incidence in the UK. It is important that awareness of FASD in the UK is raised among the general public and healthcare professionals.
  • The effective management of FASD necessitates
    cooperation between a wide range of healthcare professionals as well as individuals in the fields of education and social services.
  • Following diagnosis it is vital that appropriate
    treatment and support systems are implemented at the earliest possible stage to ensure the best outcomes for the child and their family.
  • Introduction
  • Increasing duty on all alcohol products
  • Legislating for a minimum unit price in England
  • Implementing consistent mandatory labelling of all alcoholic products
  • Introducing regulations to limit alcohol advertising
  • Ensuring alcohol education messages are delivered independently of industry
  • Establishing public health as a licensing objective
  • Legislating to reduce the legal drink driving limit to 50mg/100ml
  • Promoting CMO guidance to not drink during pregnancy
  • Training all healthcare professionals in early identification and brief
  • Adequately funding alcohol treatment services