Skip to main content

Disappointment at omissions of public health legislation in Queen’s Speech

The government U-turn on their pledge to deal with tobacco and alcohol harm and the absence of any health agenda in the Queen's speech received strong criticism today from leading health groups including  the British Medical Association.

BMA Chair of Council, Dr Mark Porter, said he was “bitterly disappointed” that standardised packaging for tobacco and the introduction of a minimum unit price for alcohol were omitted from the Queen’s Speech today (8/5/13), and he urged the government not to shy away from introducing policies that have the potential to save thousands of lives.

He added:

“If the government U-turns on its pledge to deal with alcohol and tobacco related harm, we will have to question its commitment to protecting the nation’s health.

“The evidence shows that standardised packaging helps smokers quit and prevents young people taking up the habit and facing a lifetime of addiction. I am bitterly disappointed that the government has bowed to pressure from the tobacco industry whose only objective is to increase profits by encouraging more people to take smoke and become addicted to their products.

“A minimum unit price for alcohol would result in a decrease in thousands of alcohol related deaths. It is tragic that the government is not showing the courage of politicians in Scotland where a minimum unit price is due to be introduced.

“Ultimately taxpayers pay the price as the NHS picks up the bill for the damage to health and lives lost from tobacco and alcohol related causes.”

Commenting on the Care Bill, Dr Porter said:

“Reform of social care is long overdue and there are elements of the Bill that the BMA supports, such as greater collaboration between health and social care services.

“We note that the government has included new proposals in light of the failings at Stafford Hospital and it is right that there are moves forward to implement urgent and necessary changes. However, it’s necessary to ensure that the solutions deal with the real problems proportionately. There is a need to have better information about health performance and outcomes but there has been widespread concern that the use of ratings is too simplistic to deal with a very complex issue. The BMA will be feeding through these views during the Bill’s passage through parliament.”

Dr Porter also commented on the Immigration Bill:

“We need to see the detail of the government’s proposals to regulate migrant access to the NHS in the forthcoming Bill in order to assess whether they will be fair and workable for doctors and the public.”

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Ian Duncan-Smith says he wants to make those on benefits 'better people'!

By any account, the government's austerity strategy is utilitarian. It justifies its approach by the presumed potential ends. It's objective is to cut the deficit, but it has also adopted another objective which is specifically targeted. It seeks to drive people off benefits and 'back to work'.  The two together are toxic to the poorest in society. Those least able to cope are the most affected by the cuts in benefits and the loss of services. It is the coupling of these two strategic aims that make their policies ethically questionable. For, by combining the two, slashing the value of benefits to make budget savings while also changing the benefits system, the highest burden falls on a specific group, those dependent on benefits. For the greater good of the majority, a minority group, those on benefits, are being sacrificed; sacrificed on the altar of austerity. And they are being sacrificed in part so that others may be spared. Utilitarian ethics considers the ba

Mr Duncan-Smith offers a disingenuous and divisive comparison

Some time ago, actually it was a long time ago when I was in my early teens, someone close to me bought a table. It was an early flat pack variety. It came with a top and four legs. He followed the instructions to the letter screwing the legs into the top. But when he had completed it the table wobbled. One leg he explained was shorter than the other three; so he sawed a bit from each of the other legs. The table wobbled. One leg, he explained, was longer than the other three. So, he sawed a bit off. The table wobbled. He went on cutting the legs, but the table continued to wobble. Cut, cut, cut! By this time he had convinced himself there was no alternative to it.  He ended up with a very low table indeed, supported by four very stumpy legs and a bit of cardboard placed under one of them to stop it wobbling on the uneven floor.  Mr Duncan-Smith argues that we need a 1% cap on benefits to be 'fair to average earners'. Average  earners have seen their incomes rise by less tha

His way or none? Why I can't vote for Jeremy

There is an assumption that all would be well with the Labour Party if people hadn't expressed their genuine concern with what they consider the inadequacies of Jeremy Corbyn's leadership. If only, it is said, the Parliamentary Labour Party and his Shadow Cabinet had supported him, instead of undermining him, all would have been fine. If they had been quiet and towed the line, then the party would not have been in the mess it is in. So, should they have stayed silent, or speak of their concerns? There comes a point when the cost of staying silent outweighs the cost of speaking out. This is a judgment. Many call it a coup by the PLP. They paint a picture of a right-wing PLP out of touch with the membership.  This is the narrative of the Corbyn camp. But Jeremy Corbyn, over the decades he has been in politics, showed the way.  It was Jeremy Corbyn who opposed almost all Labour leaders and rarely held back from speaking out, or voting time and again against the party line. As