This week a delegation from the Royal College of Physicians (RCP) will be attending the European Public Health Alliance (EPHA) Annual Conference 2017 in Brussels, which this year focuses on 'breaking down barriers to effective policy action against chronic diseases'.
The conference provides a valuable opportunity to highlight RCP activities in the field of chronic disease, such as reports on air pollution and tobacco harm reduction
Writing in the conference brochure, Chronic Diseases; From the Front Line, RCP representative on EU alcohol policies Professor Nick Sheron highlights the particular health challenges posed by alcohol and the need for governments to rethink their current policies and relationships with the drinks industry:
Over the last few decades mortality rates from most diseases in England and Wales have reduced, in contrast liver mortality has increased by four times since the 1970s.
Increased mortality is the result of successive governments prioritising the health of the alcohol drinks industry over the health of the electorate and allowing alcohol taxation to fall behind increases in income so that alcohol has become increasingly more affordable. Governments need to rethink the cosy relationships they have with the drinks industry and take a long hard look at the terrible human consequences of these policies.
The RCP would like to express its gratitude to EPHA President Mr Archie Turnbull, EPHA staff, and the conference programme committee chaired by Ms Catherine Hartmann, secretary general of the European COPD coalition.
The RCP was represented on this year’s committee by Paul Belcher, RCP principal european adviser, alongside representatives of the European Association for the Study of the Liver, European Brain Council, European Heart Network, Mental Health Europe and AGE Platform Europe.