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Plan for GPs to screen for alcohol abuse

The Government is to set up alcohol screening and intervention pilot schemes in GP practices as a part of a plan to fight alcohol misuse.

The Alcohol Harm Reduction Strategy published last week, highlighted GPs' role in identifying alcohol problems, pointing out that GPs see one heavy drinker a day on average and that surgeries are usually the first port of call for alcohol misusers and their families.

Under the strategy, the Department of Health will set up pilot schemes involving targeted screening and brief interventions in the next 12 months. GPs will identify alcohol misusers by unspecified targeted screening questions and then offer a brief intervention of advice and encouragement.

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