In November 2005, the UK government reformed the Licensing Act. It was generally perceived that this would lead to an in increase in the availability of alcohol to society. However, it was not known what patients thought would be the impact of these changes, and if as individuals they thought it would increase their drinking.
AIMS: To determine patients’ opinions and perceptions of the impact of the new licensing regulations.
Design: Qualitative Semi-structured face to face Interviews The samples were chosen purposively and subdivided into three groups determined by drinking behaviour;
1. Hazardous/Harmful Consumption scoring between 8 and 16 on AUDIT
2. Dependent on alcohol scoring greater than 30 on the SADQ
3. Sensible Consumption drinking 14 or fewer unit’s female, 21 units or fewer male per week
Setting: A University teaching hospital in Liverpool.
Participants: Patients attending an acute hospital with an AUDIT score greater than 7
Findings: There were no significant differences of opinion or perception between the groups. Participants reported a belief that the new legislation would lead to an increase in the availability of alcohol and that this would have a negative impact on their communities. Concern was expressed that there would be an increase in alcohol-related crime and disorder with particular reference to young people. Interestingly very few participants highlighted health as an issue of concern. Conclusions: The ambivalence toward drinking in general may help to explain why hazardous and harmful drinking is increasing, and therefore should be a consideration when designing effective responses and treatments for such drinkers.