UK CMO Guidelines Review

Closed 1 Apr 2016

Opened 8 Jan 2016


Current low risk alcohol guidelines for adults have been unchanged since 1995. Guidelines on alcohol and pregnancy last changed in 2007. The House of Commons Science and Technology Committee recommended in 2012 that the UK Chief Medical Officers (UK CMOs), led by Dame Sally Davies, should review the guidelines across the United Kingdom.


At the request of the UK CMOs, three independent groups of experts have met over the last 21/2 years to consider the evidence on the health effects of alcohol; and whether this could form the basis of new advice to the public.


The UK Chief Medical Officers considered and accepted the advice of the expert groups and agreed on 3 main recommendations:

A weekly guideline on regular drinking;

Advice on single episodes of drinking; and

A guideline on alcohol and pregnancy


The new low risk guidelines for adults have been developed to inform the public about the known health risks of different levels and patterns of drinking, particularly for people who want to know how to keep long term health risks from regular drinking of alcohol low.

Why We Are Consulting

The Chief Medical Officers would like to know whether you think their recommendations, and the reasons behind them, are clear and easy to understand. That is the purpose of the consultation. We are trying to make sure that the new guidelines are as practical and useful as possible.

We are not asking for comments on the scientific evidence or how the expert group has used it to decide on their recommendations, although the group’s full report, which explains this, and the evidence are being published at the same time as this consultation. 

All documents (in English or Welsh) are available to view online on Gov.UK:



  • Voluntary groups
  • Community groups
  • Charities
  • Civil society
  • Advocacy or support organisations
  • GPs
  • Nurses
  • Health visitors
  • Clinicians
  • Managers
  • Commissioners
  • Directors of Public Health
  • Pharmacists
  • Doctors
  • Midwives
  • Healthcare scientists
  • Paramedics
  • Dentists
  • Foundation Trusts
  • NHS Commissioning Board
  • Clinical Commissioning Groups
  • Academic/ Professional institution
  • Higher Education institutions
  • Royal Colleges
  • Local authority
  • Social care provider
  • Directors of Adult Social Care Services
  • Members of the public
  • Patients
  • Retailers
  • Suppliers
  • Information providers
  • Information professionals
  • Informatics professionals


  • Alcohol misuse
  • Public health
  • Health improvement
  • Public Health England
  • Well-being
  • NHS Health Checks
  • Prevention
  • Oral public health
  • Primary care
  • Mental health
  • Maternity services
  • GP consortia