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MSP Briefing: Smoking, Health & Social Care Bill
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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 2005.


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.

Joint Ventures

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 d.watson@unison.co.uk Tel. 07787 558410



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Further Information

Dave Watson, Scottish Organiser d.watson@unison.co.uk Tel. 07787 558410