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Doctors want end for happy hours

Happy hours and the sale of cheap alcohol should be banned, doctors have said as thousands of students prepare for Freshers' Week.

The College of Emergency Medicine (CEM) is calling for tighter controls on alcohol advertising, including a health warning on all bottles and cans.

Experts at the college said experience shows the number of university-goers admitted to A&E rises significantly during Freshers' Week.

And they believe happy hours should be banned because they encourage youngsters to drink too much too early in the evening.

Dr John Heyworth, president of the CEM, said the college, which supports minimum pricing, wants all door and bar staff to receive compulsory training so those who are already drunk cannot continue to buy alcohol.

He said: "Our message is simple - let's all enjoy alcohol sensibly.

"We don't want to stop anyone from having fun, especially not during Freshers' Week which is a time for making friends and social integration.

"But we also want to reinforce the message that drinking in moderation will prevent a whole host of unwanted consequences, from health impacts to financial implications and the heavy burden on our ambulance services and hard-pressed emergency departments."

Figures published last month by the North West Public Health Observatory showed there were 945,469 admissions to hospital for alcohol-related harm in England in 2008/09.

And a study from the NHS Confederation and Royal College of Physicians earlier this year said Britain's growing culture of heavy drinking is placing an "unsustainable burden" on the NHS, costing £2.7 billion a year.

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