After Obesity and passive smoking, the nation's drinking habits have become the latest cause for concern. From binge-drinking teenagers to Surrey commuters, alcohol consumption is a contentious issue.
What is the evidence that drinking in the UK is a significant threat to the nation's health?
Is medical evidence being presented one-sidedly in service of moralistic political objectives/- Institute of Ideas
Dr. Michael Fitzpatrick
Dr Michael Fitzpatrick is a GP in Hackney, London. Michael has a longstanding interest in politics, the history of ideas and the contemporary attacks on reason, science and rationality.
He regularly contributes to spiked, and writes for the Lancet and a variety of medical publications. Recent publications include The Tyranny of Health: Doctors and the Regulation of Lifestyle, a topical and controversial discussion of the dangers of the explosion of health awareness for both patients and doctors.
In the light of Michael's day-to-day experience as a practicing GP, he questions the current crusade of government to improve public health, and the consequent increase in the level of state intervention in every aspect of people's lives.
He is also author of MMR and Autism (2004), an explanation of why he believes the anti-MMR campaign is misguided, with the aim of both reassuring parents considering vaccination, and also relieving the continued anxieties of parents of autistic children.
Dr Clare Gerada has been a GP in Lambeth - one of the most deprived boroughs in London - since 1991. Her Kennington practice is part of the Hurley Group, a partnership of three surgeries in South London that work together to provide the local population with high quality health services.
Prior to becoming a GP, Dr Gerada worked in psychiatry at the Maudsley Hospital, specialising in substance misuse. This remains her key professional interest and she is currently a GP specialist in this area, managing patients with heroin and cocaine addiction.
Tony Gilland is the Science and Society Director at the Institute of Ideas. Tony directs the IoI's programme on scientific and medical controversies, particularly in relation to genetics, medical science and public health. He has programmed many symposiums, and edited several books on the subject.
Most recently, Tony initiated the Science Education Project, investigating the state of science education in the UK. The project has thus far resulted in a book edited by Tony, What is science education for?, which generated widespread coverage. Tony was recently quoted in The Guardian in response to the evaluations of the new science GCSE.
Tony has also written widely on the problem of risk aversion and defensiveness about scientific experimentation, contributing an article, 'Trade War or Culture War? The GM Debate in Britain and the European Union' to the book Let Them Eat Precaution.
Tony is National Coordinator of the IoI's acclaimed Debating Matters competition for sixth-form students, now in its third year.
Peter Marsh is a Chartered Psychologist and Co-director of The Social Issues Research Centre. He studied at Ruskin College Oxford, where he obtained a Diploma in Social Studies, and subsequently at University College, Oxford where he gained his degree and doctorate in psychology.
Marsh is still known for his early work on football hooliganism, conducted in the late 1970s and early 1980s. His first book, Rules of Disorder, published in 1978, is still a set text on the subject. His most recent book, co-authoured with Steve Frosdick and published in 2005, is Football Hooliganism.
Dr. Gray Smith-Laing
Dr Smith-Laing qualified with honours at The Royal Free Hospital in 1973. He has trained widely in all aspects of general medicine and gastroenterology and was appointed to the Medway NHS Trust in 1984. Dr Smith-Laing has specialist interests in hepatology; interventional endoscopy, ERCP and colonoscopy; and management of upper GI cancers but also like to remain a true "General Physician". He has taken on management roles as clinical director for medicine and as a deputy medical director of the Trust. Dr Smith-Laing has spoken to the media about the dangers of alcohol abuse on many occasions and was instrumental in securing the participation and co-operation of the Medway NHS Foundation Trust with the filming of Paul Watson's recent hard-hitting BBC documentary about alcoholism, Rain in My Heart.