Saturday, January 02, 2010

New year, old lies

Rising alcohol addiction costs 'could cripple the NHS'

The cost of treating the growing number of people drinking heavily threatens to cripple NHS hospitals, warn experts.

If the trend continues the burden will be unsustainable, the Royal College of Physicians and NHS Confederation say.

And a happy new year to you too, you scare-mongering, lemon-sucking, compulsive lying, pointy-headed, neo-prohibitionist fucking cranks.

This non-story was published on the BBC website at five minutes past midnight on New Year's Day. It would be nice to think that some wag at the Beeb thought it would be richly ironic to put an anti-alcohol piece online at the one time when everybody is pissed, but a more plausible explanation is that the BBC wanted to start the decade as it means to go on - ie. with doom-mongering drivel from state-funded temperance dicks.

And which dick is mongering the doom on this occasion? Why, it's our old friend Ian Gilmore.

Professor Ian Gilmore, president of the Royal College of Physicians, said: "The nation's growing addiction to alcohol is putting an immense strain on health services, especially in hospitals, costing the NHS over £2.7 billion each year."

As I tire of pointing out, the nation has not got a "growing addiction to alcohol". What we do have is a new way of fiddling measuring the figures which makes it appear that more people are exceeding the weekly guidelines - guidelines which are, in any case, based on fuck all evidence. In fact, in light of recent research, anyone who wants to look after their ticker should consider 28 units a week to be the bare minimum they should be imbibing, as my gracious host reported back in November:

Men who drink regularly, even in small quantities, are more than 30% less likely to suffer from heart disease, it found. But those who drink the most cut their risk by the most. Those classed as high consumers of alcohol, between 30 and 90 grams per day, had 54% less chance of getting the disease, while those deemed to have a very high intake, of more than 90 grams or at least eight glasses of wine a day, were 50% less likely.

Besides which, estimates of cost to the NHS invariably rely on the notion that if people didn't die from [insert taxable pleasure of your choice], they wouldn't die from anything at all. Instead, they would lead an eternal life of joyful abstinence, never requiring a hip replacement and never troubling a doctor. 

And this sum has doubled in under five years.

They revised their estimate, you fools.

"This burden is no longer sustainable," he said.

Really? Well, since the annual NHS budget is £95 billion, it certainly sounds pretty fucking sustainable. But just to make sure, let's see how much drinkers pay in tax.

• HM Revenue and Customs' receipts for spirits duties in 2006-2007 were £2.2 billion, and are projected to be £2.3 billion in 2007-2008 .

• Revenues for wine duties in 2006-2007 were £2.4 billion, and are projected to be £2.5 billion in 2007-2008.

• Revenues for beer and cider duties in 2006-2007 were £3.3 billion, and are projected to be £3.4 billion in 2007-2008.

At well over £8 billion a year and rising, I can only concur with the immortal words of The Daily Mash...

"Following a quick glance at my tax bill I've decided that the NHS will treat me and the government can keep its fucking opinions to itself."

All Gilmore and his cohorts are doing here is borrowing a tired old trick from their fellow health warriors at the National Obesity Forum (whose credibility is in no way compromised by being funded by pharmaceutical companies who make weight-loss drugs. Absolutely not.) You may remember such news reports as this from 2007...

Obesity epidemic 'could bankrupt the NHS'

Tackling Britain’s obesity epidemic could bankrupt the NHS, a leading expert has warned.

It is anticipated that obesity could cost as much as £45 billion a year by 2050, to pay for growing incidents of diabetes, strokes and heart disease as well as the loss of earnings by those too heavy to work, a conference was warned.

Dr Colin Waine, chairman of the National Obesity Forum (NOF), said the financial implications of obesity were "huge" and claimed the Government would have to confront the food industry to tackle the problem.

And this from 2006...

Obesity 'could bankrupt the NHS'

The rising levels of obesity could bankrupt the NHS if left unchecked, a British Medical Journal report warns.

Experts, including government A&E tsar George Alberti and Glasgow University professor Naveed Sattar, said obesity treatment took up 9% of the NHS budget.

But they warned this would rise as the number of obese adults rose from one in five to one in three by 2010.

Pay particular attention to that last line. It's now 2010. Are 1 in 3 adults obese? No, not even close. Will these made up statistics and scare stories dominate the BBC's output for another ten years? You bet your sweet ass they will.

29 comments:

Anonymous said...

I was surprised that this story seems to have risen to near the top of the BBC's agenda but not really picked up on (I heard it mentioned multiple times on 31st & 1st on the radio). It seems in the public of the government, and by extension the BBC, we have nailed public opinion on smoking during the 2000's, alcohol is now the target for the 2010's.

Anonymous said...

"It seems in the public of the government" should of course be "opinion of the government"

Would be obliged if the host could change this or else leave this supplementary comment in place. A better solution would be for me to read what I've typed before pressing 'Post Comment' but I fear this will never happen.

Junican said...

From Junican.

It really is good that the medical profession have moved their sights onto obesity and alcohol. The more the medical profession spreads its wings, the more UNINTENDED CONSEQUENCES will be revealed - damaging consequences. Of course, no 'professor' will ever be held to account when the economy is damaged. These 'professors' are like politicians - they appear, damage society, and then disappear.

It is clear from the lack of response to Climategate that the powers that be simply want the problem revealed by Climategate to go away. Where are the politicians DEMANDING that the facts should be revealed? WHY ARE THEY SILENT? WHY ARE THEY NOT DEMANDING THAT THE RAW DATA SHOULD BE PUBLISHED ON THE INTERNET? WHY ARE MPs SO STUPID AND SO IGNORANT? When I say ignorant I mean lacking in knowledge and lacking in ability to connect with their constituents. My MP is Ruth Kelly. She is a lovely Catholic girl, as I am a good Catholic boy. I admire her very much. I feel sure that she was misled by the unatributable and unknown people who actually make the decisions. It is not possible for the politicians to make the decisions since they know nothing. Unfortunately, my lovely catholic girl MP, Ruth Kelly, seems to have decided that it is OK for her to continue to collect her MP salary while doing NOTHING WHATSOEVER to justify it. How many bins does she empty in her constituancy? ((In her constituency, the bins have not been emptied for three weeks now). So sad.
Despite the fact that Ruth Kelly is going to cease to be an MP at the next election, why is she not jumping up and down shouting, "Why was I mislead over the climate business?" She should be shouting - on behalf over her constituents. She should also be shouting about the damage that the smoking ban is doing. But she does not. WHY?

Ian E said...

Did I hear the radio comment correctly - i.e. alcohol consumption in the UK has gone up by 20% in the last 30 years? Well, guess what - so has the population!

Pat said...

I wonder if a large part of the problem isn't a surfeit of news outlets, all of which are hungry for something dramatic to publish.

Wossat? said...

But...but...but...we need to think of the chiiiiiildren!

assegai mike said...

And, naturally, the killjoys at The Mail are off to a flying start:

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1239836/New-Year-celebrations-turn-ugly-revellers-drink-excess.html

Geordie lasses - bless em!

Anonymous said...

Yeah and what about the 1.3 billion wasted on smoking cessation and products that have a less than 5% success rate.
Still keeps the "ugly pigs" in ASH in a nice little earner does it not.
Not to mention big pharma who makes the shit.

Anonymous said...

start the decade

The next decade doesn't start until 2011. Surely they taught you how to count to ten at Eton....

John East said...

I couldn't give a fuck if they launch a decade long persecution of alcohol. Whilst I am pissed off over the tobacco persecution because I don't have the space or the knowledge to grow my own, I'm quite happy, and able to brew my own beer and ferment my own wine.

What can the fucking leftie control freaks do to stop me?

ENGLISHMAN said...

They must keep up the climate of fear,people are easier to condition when they are afraid,and climate-gate will not hurt them,for all "politicians"have learned a truth,that is that they can simply ignore the elecorate,and do as they please,and if any-one has not noticed everything that is "bad"for you and will be removed,fits admirably with the tennets of islam.

View from the Solent said...

re John East: "What can the fucking leftie control freaks do to stop me?"

Make hops and yeast controlled substances.

The Filthy Smoker said...

Anon 11.24,

I wondered whether some pedant would point that out. I recall the same tedious discussions ten years ago when people claimed that 1990 was in the 1980s and 2000 was in the 20th century, or something. I dare say that is technically correct, but as I didn't go to Eton and don't give a shit I will say now what I said then - shut the hell up.

Ian E said...

What is regarded as a decade is simply a matter of convention! {OK, it would be odd and illogical if it was less than/more than 10 years, but which ten years is selected has to be a majority choice - and the majority, by a long way, regard it as 0,1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9. Indeed it would be rather odd to regard 2010 as one of the Noughties!}

Curmudgeon said...

It wouldn't surprise me if home brewing and winemaking were banned - or subject to duty - in the next ten years. As the Righteous seek to jack alcohol prices up, it is inevitable more people will turn to maing their own.

Mitch said...

Britain is bracing itself for one of the coldest winters for a century with temperatures hitting minus 16 degrees Celsius, forecasters have warned.

From the Telegraph.

Ot but its that global warming again.

I wish I was Scottish said...

John East wrote:
" Whilst I am pissed off over the tobacco persecution because I don't have the space or the knowledge to grow my own".....

grow grass then, it`s a doddle and heaps more fun.

AndrewSouthLondon said...

I have no problem with you guys smoking. I have a problem with you forcing me to breathe your smoke - different issue. However "passive drinking" is mechanically more difficult to achieve, unless you go around buying rounds all the time.No justification for nannying.

On the up-side, with the explosive population increase here of Muslims who supposedly don't drink, the incidence of alcoholic liver disease should fall of its own accord over coming decades. That at least should please the Royal College, if no-one else.

Curmudgeon said...

Andrew,

If pubs and restaurants were allowed to have separate smoking areas, then how would you be forced to breathe other people's smoke?

Indeed surely the same would true if there were a mixture of smoking and non-smoking pubs.

And can we have "non smelly fat bastard pubs" - I don't want to have to inhale their stench?

the a&e charge nurse said...

"the incidence of alcoholic liver disease".

Ahh, if it where only that simple, ASL - the toll goes far beyond pickled liver syndrome.

Think of all those cases of domestic violence, casual assault, injuries from pished drivers, depression, or even dementia, etc.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wernicke's_encephalopathy

Still no need to worry when we can divert attention toward a sterile debate about whether or not alcohol prevalence is slightly higher or lower than it was 5, 10 or 20 years ago - that's what really matters, isn't it?

Rob said...

So people who don't drink don't beat their wives, suffer from depression or get dementia? Amazing!

A&E - when will you realise that the people who beat their wives (and husbands, of course) when they are pissed WILL DO IT WHEN THEY ARE SOBER.

Repeat 100 times.

As for the depression and dementia bit, for fuck's sake. Do you really think you are going to con people into believing that shit?

the a&e charge nurse said...

Have you never heard of 'Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome', or alcohol related dementia, Rob - it's not very nice I'm afraid
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wernicke-Korsakoff_syndrome

The Royal College of Psychiatrists claim, "alcohol affects the chemistry of the brain, increasing the risk of depression".
http://www.rcpsych.ac.uk/mentalhealthinfo/problems/alcoholanddrugs/alcoholdepression.aspx

Alcohol correlates with many forms of antisocial and violent behaviour - let's at least be honest enough to call a spade a spade.

the a&e charge nurse said...

"So people who don't drink don't beat their wives"?

I didn't actually say that Rob but this report makes for chilling reading, especially when we consider the profile of abusers, for example it is claimed that 48% (of those responsible for domestic violence) were found to be alcohol dependent.
http://www.crimereduction.homeoffice.gov.uk/domesticviolence/domesticviolence39.htm

Makes you think, doesn't it?

Simon Jester said...

Opinion poll time - who thinks that "the A&E charge nurse" is really:
a) Ian Gilmore
b) A member of al muhajiroun (or similar Islamist nutjob organisation)
c) Oliver Cromwell
d) A cunt?

Simon Jester said...

"Makes you think, doesn't it?"

Makes me think you don't understand that "post hoc ergo propter hoc" is a logical fallacy.

Mark Brentano said...

I don't remember members of the public complaining in the 1970s when, if I remember aright, GPs as a profession had the highest incidence of both alcoholism and drug addiction.

Beware of Geeks bearing GIFs said...

Love this find DK:

"Following a quick glance at my tax bill I've decided that the NHS will treat me and the government can keep its fucking opinions to itself."

I've decided 2010 is the year I invest once again into homebrew kits.

PickleLiverTastic!

Hang 'em all said...

Dr Colin Waine, chairman of the National Obesity Forum, said "the financial implications of obesity are huge".

Was that meant to be a joke?

Gutrot & Pancreaitis Distillers Inc. said...

Great work.cheques in the post.
Ooops!