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GP's alcohol screening snubbed

Dr Nigel Robinson has been frustrated in his attempts to screen for alcohol problems at his practice ­ after finding only a tiny minority of patients were willing to accept help.

Screening identified excess drinking in 400 patients at Dr Robinson's practice in Norton, Stockton-on-Tees, but only

20 agreed to come back

for advice on tackling their problem.

'The mere mention of alcohol within chronic disease clinics provokes the defensive reply of "So you think I'm an alcoholic?",' he said.

Dr Robinson, whose scheme asked patients with long-term conditions four questions about their drinking habits, said he intended to put more pressure on patients to attend in future.

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