Dr Alan McDevitt, deputy chairman of the BMA's Scottish General Practitioners Committee, said: "Those who suffer from alcohol related health problems are not just alcoholics or heavy binge drinkers. By regularly drinking over and above recommended limits, a significant proportion of the adult population is at risk of experiencing health problems that are linked to the alcohol they consume whether it is high blood pressure, breast cancer or even domestic abuse.
"In just one day, nurses and doctors working in general practices across Scotland saw more than 5500 patients where alcohol had contributed to their ill health. But the patients seen in general practice are just the tip of the iceberg. The impact of alcohol misuse across the rest of the NHS, in hospitals and in our communities is far greater."
On the average weekly measure, heavy drinking is defined as consuming more than 50 units a week for men and consuming more than 35 units a week for women. In the 16 to 24 age group there were significant falls, between 2000 and 2006, in the proportion of men and women drinking heavily (from 14 per cent to 7 per cent for men and from 9 per cent to 5 per cent for women).
*The "study" collected and added up raw figures from just 31 GP practices - no consistent methodology, no back check, no patient data. Pretty poor really.