Tag Archives: binge-drinking

Cutting A&E attendance is not rocket science

UnknownWith all political eyes now on the NHS, the relentless rise in patients using A&E as a first port of call has even more significance. Recent research shows that one of the main reasons people head straight for A&E rather than any of the other NHS urgent services is that they simply do not understand how they work.

Research done by Resonant-a London based agency specialising in behaviour change and social marketing recently worked across three major South London hospitals to try and find a solution. What they found was that parents in particular do not know the difference between urgent care, walk in services and minor injury units. More importantly they found that this patient group do not know why and when to use them. In fact the only services universally understood were GPs and A&E.

Resonant devised an intervention called Get It Right which tackled this problem head on and delivered an 18% drop in demand on A&E services in this area of London. After much collaboration with local people and a variety of community groups Resonant came up with a simple and engaging guide to local services which gave local families across southwest London the confidence and capability to use other parts of the urgent and primary care network to access the care they needed.

John Isitt, Director of Resonant says: “Local NHS organisations have not learned that it is not enough to tell people not to go to A&E. Instead it is vital to address people’s underlying motivations, anxieties by making the system simpler for them. Managing demand is not the answer to the whole problem but it is an effective, evidenced and good return on investment”.

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Filed under Current affairs

Drink more slowly from a tall straight glass!

Maybe you haven’t given much thought to the shape of your glass on a night out in the pub. But recent research shows that you are more likely to drink more quickly from a curved glass than a straight glass.

Researchers at the University of Bristol took a group of 159 men and women and filmed them drinking either soft drinks or beer as part of their study. The glasses used were either straight or curvy and each contained around half a pint of liquid.

Those drinking soft drinks took around seven minutes to polish off their drinks whether drinking from straight or curvy glasses. However those drinking beer took four minutes longer to finish their drinks when quaffing from a straight glass.

The results showed that drinking time is slowed by almost 60% when alcohol is consumed from a straight glass compared with a curved glass. Researchers believe that curvy glasses make it harder to pace drinking because it is more difficult to judge how much was in the curved glass.

The study group were also shown a variety of pictures of partially filled beer glasses and were asked to judge whether they were more or less than half full. Researchers said they were more likely to get the answer wrong when assessing the amount in curved glasses.

The study backs up previous research published in the BMJ seven years ago which determined whether people pour different amounts into short wide glasses than into tall slender ones.

Aiming to pour a shot of alcohol (44.3ml) the study group poured more into short wide glasses than into tall slender glasses. In fact despite an average of six years experience bartenders poured 20.5% more into short wide glasses than tall, slender ones.

Angela Attwood, lead researcher on the Bristol study said: ‘Our research is the first to examine whether glass shape directly influences drinking behavior. Our data indicates that the shape of a drinking glass influences the rate of drinking of an alcoholic beverage, but not a non alcoholic drink’.

The drinkers on the study were unable to judge how quickly they were drinking so were unable to pace themselves. She suggested that altering the glasses in pubs could help ‘nudge’ people to drink more healthily by ‘giving control’ back to the drinkers.

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Filed under Medical and health

Drinking too much? Say Hello Sunday Morning


A new report by MPs is set to warn that the alcohol industry is in the ‘last chance saloon’ and should face heavier regulation if it fails to take action to curb dangerous drinking.

The inquiry into the Government’s strategy on alcohol is expected to conclude that pledges by manufacturers to foster responsible drinking habits have come to nothing, with little action on binge drinking and too much marketing still aimed at the young.

In Australia one man believes that governments have got it wrong on binge drinking. Two years ago 25 year old Chris Raine from Brisbane set up an innovative website called Hello Sunday Morning .

‘I was working for an advertising agency and we were asked to design a campaign around binge drinking. I went to the pub with my boss to brainstorm some ideas and I suddenly thought this is ridiculous. I am trying to tell other young people why they shouldn’t be drinking and here I am downing pints of beer!’ he laughs.

Chris resigned the same day and started to ask himself some serious questions about his drinking and where he was heading with his life. ‘I decided to commit to giving up drinking for a year and record my experiences on a blog. People started sending in posts of support and that was how Hello Sunday Morning was born’ he adds.

The beauty of HSM is that it is an online entity which doesn’t require people to be in any particular place. It has no international boundaries and people feel free to dip in and out as and when they feel the need for online support. There is something unique about the anonymity of it which attracts people-the website now has more than 5000 HSMers supporting one another.

The rule of thumb is a three month break from the booze-enough time for people to undergo a fundamental shift in thinking about their drinking habits but short enough for them to fall off the wagon (if it really isn’t their thing). It has nothing to do with AA nor is it a finger wagging exercise about the horrors of binge drinking. ‘It’s a way of helping people take a break from drinking and get their priorities in order’ says Raine.

Izzy Lindsell is a 22 year old student who only began drinking on her 18th birthday but pretty soon became a binge drinker. ‘All my friends were pretty much drinking until they were so drunk they would fall over’ she explains. ‘I was beginning to do the same and it didn’t make me happy. I needed to rethink why I was drinking so much. It took a gap year trip to Ayers Rock to make me realize I wanted to stop for a while and reassess my life’ she says.

When she came home she discovered HSM and decided to give up drinking for a year. ‘It was really helpful to have all the other HSMers cheering me on. I have done it twice now but each time I fall off the wagon at five months. That seems to be my limit which is fine. ‘Stopping drinking for a while has helped me to realize I don’t need it to be sociable or for confidence. In other words drinking no longer defines who I am’ she says.

Izzy Lindell joined HSM this year

So could the UK government learn anything from HSM? Raine admits it is hard for governments to tackle the binge drinking culture. ‘They do their best but it’s usually too based in logic rather than passion or a narrative. The thing about HSM is it’s not prescriptive in any way. People just sign up and give it a go. It’s about people using it in whatever way they can and making any rules they want.

‘I would like to think that more social enterprises could be created to solve difficult problems that governments are facing and I can’t see any reason why these problems couldn’t be tackled in partnership over next decade or so’ he explains.

Go to www.hellosundaymorning.com.au

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July 16, 2012 · 11:23 am