GPs call for minimum pricing on alcohol and sugar tax

Doctors have called for minimum pricing on alcohol to be introduced in the Budget.

GPs call for minimum pricing on alcohol and sugar tax

Doctors have called for minimum pricing on alcohol to be introduced in the Budget.

The Irish College of General Practitioners (ICGP) said targeting the "excessive alcohol consumption in Ireland" should be a national priority.

The organisation, which looks after the education training and standards in general practice, also urged the Government to tackle diabetes with a tax on sweetened drinks.

They said: "If implemented, this measure will assist in combating increasing diabetes rates.

"However successful Government-led programmes like 'HeartWatch' and the 'Diabetes structured care programmes' should be rolled out nationally as chronic care management requires a multidisciplinary approach, treating physical, psychological and social problems, to be successful."

On tackling alcohol, Kieran Ryan, CEO of the ICGP said: "If the recent negative reaction to Arthur’s Day is indicative of public opinion, Irish people have had enough of the destructive force of alcohol in our society."

Dr Mary Sheehan, Chairperson of ICGP said: "In 2007 the overall cost of harmful use of alcohol in Ireland was estimated to be €3.7bn, representing 1.9% of GNP that year. In a recent Irish public opinion survey (HRB 2012) 85% of respondents thought that the current level of alcohol consumption in Ireland is too high.

"Despite its effectiveness, taxation as a method of reducing harm from drinking appears to have been under-used."

ICGP also highlighted other key areas for the Government to prioritise in the Budget:

- Ensuring Access to Diagnostics is more equal

- Adequate funding for the move to a primary care focused health system

- Improving patient information management systems to ensure improved communication between hospitals and GPs

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