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[Irish Medical Times] , Mudiwa, Lloyd Doctors urged to participate in debate. (14 Feb 2012)

External website: http://www.imt.ie/news/latest-news/2012/02/doctors...

Chief Medical Officer Dr Tony Holohan, who chaired the National Substance Misuse Strategy Steering Group, has requested doctors to participate in the public debate on alcohol, following the publication of the group’s radical report on February 7.

In a letter addressed to individual doctors, the public health specialist said: “It is my intention in publishing this report that it facilitates a healthy public debate, following which we will bring final proposals to the Government in the next two-to-three months.

“As a medical practitioner, you will be aware of the devastating effects of alcohol use and misuse on the health and social wellbeing of the people of Ireland. The report of the Steering Group sets this evidence out very clearly.”

According to the report, alcohol was responsible for 88 deaths each month in 2008. It was a contributory factor in half of all suicides and deliberate self-harm, was associated with 2,000 beds being occupied every night in Irish hospitals, and related illnesses cost the health system €1.2 billion in 2007, with alcohol-related crime costing an estimated €1.19 billion in the same year.

Dr Holohan said the purpose of writing to the doctors was to encourage them to participate locally and nationally, either on an individual basis or through their professional colleges, in the public debate. He added that the healthy and constructive input of medical practitioners who were well placed to understand the issues involved was essential to balanced debate.


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