Collaboration with University of Glasgow and University of Sheffield.
This study will be the first to determine whether increasing the price of cheap alcohol affects ambulance call-outs. Ambulance call-outs due to alcohol cost up to £52 million annually in Scotland . Under the Scottish Government (SG) ‘Minimum Unit Pricing’ (MUP) policy, the cheapest alcoholic drinks became more expensive from 1st May 2018. Research suggests that this will reduce drinking, especially in heavier drinkers from deprived backgrounds, but the knock-on effect on ambulance call-outs is unknown. Using detailed data from the Scottish Ambulance Service (SAS), we will examine statistically if MUP had an impact on alcohol-related call-outs, including in different groups (varying by sex/age/wealth). We will interview ambulance staff to explore how they experience, identify and record alcohol-related call-outs. The findings will help SG who must decide in 2024 if enough evidence exists of benefits of MUP to continue it beyond that date, and will support SAS with service planning.
Fitzgerald N, Manca F, Uny I, Martin JG, O'Donnell R, Ford A, Begley A, Stead M & Lewsey J (2021) Lockdown and licensed premises: COVID-19 lessons for alcohol policy. Drug and Alcohol Review. https://doi.org/10.1111/dar.13413