MSP Briefing: Smoking,
Health & Social Care Bill
This briefing sets out UNISON Scotland's position
on the Health Committee's Stage 1 Report on the Smoking, Health
and Social Care (Scotland) Bill to be debated on Thursday 28 April
UNISON Scotland fully supports the Committee's overall
view that a ban on smoking in enclosed public places would impact
positively on public health. Evidence of the adverse health effects
brought on by passive smoking is if anything now stronger than
before the Bill was published. We believe the timetable for implementation
is reasonable given the benefit of experience from elsewhere.
A partial ban would in our view not go far enough
and ventilation is not an adequate alternative. The evidence indicates
that ventilation does not remove the carcinogens and the proper
safety approach is to remove the risk when it is reasonably practicable
to do so. As we set out in our evidence, no one is required to
smoke in enclosed public places.
We do have some concerns over enforcement by our
members in environmental health departments. We therefore welcome
the Committee's recommendations on enforcement strategies and
that enforcement costs should be fully funded.
UNISON Scotland is strongly opposed to this provision
in the Bill. The provision gives health boards wide ranging powers
to enter into joint ventures. Whilst this could involve a range
of models, in practice, the only serious consideration is being
given to the English LIFT model.
It was clear from evidence to the Committee that
this model is largely untried and has all the failings of other
forms of Public Private Partnerships. Scarce NHS resources will
be diverted into higher borrowing costs and the profits of private
companies, not to mention the loss of accountability. The LIFT
model has specific problems that we highlighted in evidence including
the distortion of local priorities and potential conflicts for
public sector staff serving as Directors. We therefore welcome
the Committee's recommendation on strengthening governance and
confirmation that the PPP Staffing Protocol will apply.
UNISON Scotland would urge that Joint Ventures (Part5)
be detached from the Bill. If there is evidence that this model
is successful elsewhere then the Executive could reintroduce the
provision in a more appropriate Bill.
UNISON Scotland therefore welcomes the Smoking and
other parts of this Bill other than Joint Ventures. It is to be
regretted that this Bill deals with such diverse subjects and
therefore we support the Committee's view that the Executive should
bring forward bills that are more discrete.
For further information contact:
Dave Watson, Scottish Organiser firstname.lastname@example.org
Tel. 07787 558410
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