Trainee surgeon's view on plans for minimum booze price

23/03/12

Teenager drinking from bottle

Alcohol could be given a minimum price of 40p per unit if the government gets its way.

The plans for England and Wales are designed to cut down on binge drinking, particularly on cheap high-strength booze.

Ministers say it would mean less work for the police and also hospital staff who often have to deal with lots of drink-related injuries.

Newsbeat spoke to Kezia - a trainee plastic surgeon - to hear her experiences of patching up people who've had a few too many.

"We see quite a lot of hand injuries from people getting into fights and just from people falling over when they're drunk."

Kezia's in favour of a minimum price because of the amount of 'unnecessary' injuries she has to treat.

'Action needed'

"My last weekend on-call shift I performed nine operations on the Saturday and eight of those were drink-related injuries.

I performed nine operations on the Saturday and eight of those were drink-related injuries.
Kezia, trainee plastic surgeon

"Something needs to be done," she says.

Kezia reckons the changes would free up accident and emergency departments to treat more people more quickly.

"If you look at the evidence, increasing prices does reduce alcohol consumption - and it particularly affects heavy drinkers and binge drinkers," adds Kezia.

The doctor says the plans are a good start but not a 'magic bullet' for the problem.

For instance, Kezia says a proposed zero-tolerance approach to drunkenness in hospitals would be tricky for staff.

"You don't know whether the man shouting abuse at you is doing it because he's drunk, or whether he's fallen and had a head injury and that's why he's so aggressive."