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Volume 704: debated on Thursday 16 October 2008

asked Her Majesty's Government:

How many of the 811,000 alcohol-related hospital admissions in 2006 were repeat admissions of the same individual. [HL5426]

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Whether they will take steps to ensure that all student doctors, nurses and midwives receive mandatory training on alcohol-related issues. [HL5427]

The department is not responsible for setting curricula for health professional training. However, we do share a commitment with statutory and professional bodies that all health professionals are trained, so that they have the skills and knowledge to deliver a high quality health service to all groups of the population with whom they deal, whatever their condition.

Therefore, the department is working with the International Centre for Drug Policy and the deans of the 24 English medical schools to develop undergraduate medical curricula and to embed substance misuse within the curricula. This includes a specific module on identification of those who are drinking at harmful levels and offering brief advice on reducing the risks from alcohol.

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Which departments will draw up the final impact assessment for the proposals in the Department of Health's consultation Safe, Sensible, Social—Consultation on Further Action, in particular the assessment of the proposals' impact on small businesses and on the alcohol industry; and [HL5428]

Whether the proposals in the Department of Health's Safe, Sensible, Social—Consultation on Further Action are designed to reduce alcohol consumption by problem drinkers or alcohol consumption across the whole population. [HL5429]

The consultation Safe. Sensible. Social: The next steps in the National Alcohol Strategy seeks views from the public, consumer groups, the leisure and hospitality industry, alcohol producers, retailers, and professionals who have to deal with the effects of alcohol misuse on how best to minimise health harms, violence and anti-social behaviour associated with alcohol consumption, while ensuring that people are able to enjoy alcohol safely and responsibly. It seeks views on the right balance between individual responsibility, consumer choice and restricting harmful retailing practices. A copy has been placed in the Library.

The department and the Home Office will draw up final impact assessments following this consultation, taking account of evidence submitted during the consultation period.

The Government's alcohol strategy focuses particularly on reducing harms experienced by young people under 18 who drink alcohol, 18-to-24 year-old binge drinkers, and harmful drinkers, who regularly drink more than double the recommend daily limits for alcohol—three to four units of alcohol for men and two to three for women. The department estimates that those drinking regularly at these levels comprise 6 per cent of the population, who drink about 33 per cent of alcohol consumed in the United Kingdom. The strategy also seeks to increase the number of people drinking within the Government's sensible drinking guidelines. Twenty-six per cent of the population regularly exceeded these guidelines in 2006.