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So heavy drinkers lie about their habit. Funnily enough, so do GPs

On the scale of obviousness, a finding that heavy drinkers lie to their GP about how much they're putting away is up there with 'Pope revealed to be Catholic', 'Bears crap in woods' and 'John Sergeant exposed as rubbish dancer'.

On the scale of obviousness, a finding that heavy drinkers lie to their GP about how much they're putting away is up there with 'Pope revealed to be Catholic', 'Bears crap in woods' and 'John Sergeant exposed as rubbish dancer'.



Yes boys and girls, a Government survey has determined that heavy drinkers lie to their doctor about the amount that they drink. Well, stick your hand up my jacksie and call me "Sooty".

One thing they don't seem to have picked up on is that GPs lie to their patients too, about the amount that we drink. I don't know any (OK, many) front line family docs that don't start the night with a stiff drink after evening surgery. Some days, it's only the thought of the cool refreshing gin and tonic or the foaming pint of Timmy Taylor's Landlord bitter that gets us through the last half dozen appointments.

But you won't hear me confessing to shifting four pints at a single sitting when I'm trying to persuade some drunken Jock to go easy on the milk of amnesia. If he twigs that I'm knocking back more sauce than the Government guidelines recommend he's going to take that as carte blanche for him to do the same.

The "safe limits" that were pulled out of a hat in 1987 (21 units for men, 14 for women) were no more based on scientific evidence than my belief that columnist Phil Peverley and comedian Roy "Chubby" Brown, in fact, one and the same person (see below).

Because everybody lies about the amount that they drink, the goalposts have been surreptitiously shifted. If a man with cirrhosis confesses to drinking forty units per week then that sets the bar for "dangerous" consumption. In fact he's probably knocking back over a hundred.

At least the Government can take comfort in the knowledge that their "Know your limits" campaign has reached its target audience. As evidenced by the large sandwich board outside my local off licence, which reads, "Get More Units for Your Money here!"

Copperfield blog: So heavy drinkers lie about their habit? Funnily enough, so do GPs Separated at birth?






Phil Peverley


Phil Peverley

Roy 'chubby' Brown


Roy 'Chubby' Brown

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