While large numbers of us enjoyed a beer in the spring sunshine last weekend, the government’s alcohol strategy got a pasting in many newspapers.
The Daily Mail said the 40p per unit pricing policy had descended into a “fiasco” within hours of its launch, pointing out that health minister Anne Milton had recently told MPs it was “illegal”.
The Guardian said Andrew Lansley had opposed such a policy for 18 months and was sulking.
The Sun seemed horrified that GPs could be paid bonuses for finding out how much we really drink, with the collection of data on alcohol consumption to identify problem drinkers potentially included in the quality and outcomes framework.
The Independent had Royal College of Physicians president Sir Richard Thompson promoting another springtime activity: GPs should prescribe gardening to help patients beat depression. And the new commissioning structure could allow them to do so, he suggested.
In the Daily Telegraph, the British Medical Association’s Mark Porter said the NHS could not afford to move to seven-day working, as its medical director Sir Bruce Keogh has advocated, and called the suggestion “consumerist”.
This may, of course, simply be a synonym for popular with the public, but not with doctors.
It was a mixed week for older patients. Many media looked at the Macmillan Cancer Support report that survival rates for older age groups with cancer were not increasing with anything like the speed of those for younger patients.
The positive news was a boost to dementia research funding announced by David Cameron himself. But this was rather drowned out by the “cash for access” fiasco. Mr Cameron probably needed a stiff drink.