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Your life in their boozy hands


Real Story investigates alcohol use in Britain's medical community.

We reveal the true scale of addiction among medics; we investigate numbers of drunk staff in Britain's hospitals; and for the first time ever on camera we test how a hung-over consultant anaesthetist copes with a life-threatening theatre situation.

Using the Freedom of Information Act, Real Story discovered the extent of drug and alcohol incidents in our hospitals - from one Trust with three alcoholic consultants in three years, to another with seven doctors addicted to drugs or alcohol.

We reveal the huge disparities between NHS Trusts' policies on drugs and alcohol, and ask the body responsible for all Trusts why there is no national guidance on drinking at work; why each Trust is left to formulate their own policy and why some Trusts allow staff to drink on call.

We meet recovering alcoholic doctors and discover their history of drinking at work - sometimes up to a bottle of vodka a day whilst working in a hospital; and we ask why there are no random breath tests for hospital staff, when pilots and air cabin crew are subject to strict regulations and random tests.

In this revealing edition of Real Story, we meet the victims of drunk medics and hear from the doctor consumed with guilt for the patients he may have affected whilst drunk or hung over at work.

Real Story: - BBC ONE, Monday 13 June, 2005 at 19OO BST.

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