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Healthcare and Medical Graduates of 2009: Their Reactions to Four Key Proposals in the Scottish Government's Strategy for Tackling Alcohol Misuse

By Jan Gill, Caroline Gibson and Maggie Nicol

Abstract

Aims: This study compares the views of final year medical, and nursing and allied health professional (NAHP) students in relation to four governmental proposals impacting on the sale and purchase of alcohol. Methods: Against a background of political will to address alcohol abuse in Scotland and moves within the National Health Service promoting a shifting of professional roles, self-completed questionnaires were administered in spring 2009 through course websites and lectures to final year medical and NAHP students. Results: Questionnaires were returned by 406 NAHPs and 121 medical students. Over three quarters of all students agreed with the proposed change to reduce the drink driving limit to 50 mg/100 ml blood. Less support was evident for the raising of the minimum legal purchase age for off-sales (37%), the banning of below cost price promotions of alcohol (47%) and minimum retail pricing (37%). However, there were differences between the NAHP and medical students in the case of the final two proposals; over 60% of the medical students agreed they would have a positive impact. For NAHPs, figures were 41% and 31%, respectively. Conclusions: Support for four key proposals outlined by the Scottish Government to address alcohol misuse varied. Only the suggestion to lower the drink driving limit received backing overall and within students in these professions. Effectiveness of proposed restrictions on the price of alcohol was less well regarded except by medical students. Evident gaps in knowledge around health guidelines, and the finding that almost half of NAHPs disagreed that they had the appropriate knowledge to advise patients about responsible drinking advice and alcohol misuse problems, suggest a need for improved undergraduate education and continued professional development with respect to public health aspects of alcohol use

OAI identifier: oai:eresearch.qmu.ac.uk:1036
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