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Tuesday, 12 January 2010

Congratulations Dai!

I would like to congratulate the Chair of the Junior Doctors Committee Dr David Samuel (pictured) who has won a Pfizer bursary. Dai will be talking to groups of up to 100 students from schools in Merthyr about teenage health.

Dai was raised in Merthyr, and now works at Prince Charles Hospital. As a local Doctor who is aware of the issues facing the residents, he hopes to break the cycle of ill health that runs in families from the area. He will be covering amongst other topics; drugs and alcohol, smoking and teenage pregnancy.

Merthyr has the highest rate of sexually transmitted diseases in Wales and the UK. The borough also has the highest proportion of smokers in Wales, as well as a high proportion of binge drinkers.

Collectively we need to work together to ensure a healthy future for our children and I am pleased that Dai is taking action.

BMA Cymru are extremely concerned about alcohol consumption among young people. It is shocking that in Europe, the UK’s teenagers are most likely to be heavy drinkers.

As doctors we see first hand how alcohol misuse destroys lives. It causes family breakdowns, is a major factor in domestic violence, ruins job prospects, is often related to crime and disorderly behaviour and it kills. Alcohol misuse is related to over 60 medical conditions including heart and liver disease, diabetes, strokes and mental health problems.

Alcohol misuse not only costs lives it also costs the country many millions of pounds. The NHS spends millions every year on treating and dealing with alcohol problems and the criminal justice system also spends similarly large amounts dealing with alcohol-related and drink-driving offences.

It is also vital that we break the cycle of young smokers who will become tomorrow’s parents who smoke, and continue the cycle of smoking-related ill-health. Every day doctors witness the death and despair caused by smoking.

It is essential that cigarettes are made less accessible to children. Banning point of sale displays and getting rid of tobacco vending machines will go some way to doing this.

We must also ensure that young people have access to adequate and appropriate contraception, as well as working together to educate and inform them of the risks of becoming sexually active too early.

We will be producing a youtube film of Dai in action at one of the interactive sessions – tune in to find out how he gets on.

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