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Tobacco ad ban back on agenda
Tobacco advert
Tobacco advertisements could be banned
The government has signalled its determination to ban tobacco advertising in the UK despite the opposition of the industry.

A bill will be introduced to ban the advertising and promotion of tobacco products.

The Queen's Speech also includes a proposal to make the NHS responsible for paying nursing care costs in homes for the elderly.

Government smoking targets
to reduce adult smoking from 28% to 26% in 2005 and 24% in 2010
to reduce child smoking from 13% to 11% in 2005, and 9% in 2010
to reduce smoking in pregnancy from 23% to 18% by 2005 and 15% by 2010
to reduce smoking in manual groups from 32% to 26% by 2010
Other proposed measures include extra money for the best-run NHS Trusts, plans for private-public partnerships to improve GP services, and allowing more health professionals to prescribe drugs.

Ministers had planned to introduce a ban by implementing a 1998 EU directive to phase out all tobacco advertising and sponsorship by 2006.

However, the directive was successfully challenged by tobacco manufacturers in the European Court, which ruled the European Commission acted illegally when it introduced the directive.

Now ministers plan to secure the ban by introducing a bill specifically banning the advertising and promotion of tobacco products in the UK.

Smoking kills 120,000 people a year in the UK and is the biggest cause of coronary heart disease.

The Department of Health estimates that a ban on tobacco advertising would eventually lead to a 2.5% reduction in the number of smokers, possibly saving 3,000 lives a year.

Professor Gordon McVie, director general of the Cancer Research Campaign, said: "The government has stood firm and listened to public opinion rather than the persistent bleatings of the tobacco manufacturers, who even now refuse to accept responsibility for the needless deaths of millions of people worldwide."

Clive Bates, director of the anti-smoking charity Action on Smoking and Health said: "It's not enough that the bill has been included in the Queen's speech.

"The government must ensure that the bill is given adequate Parliamentary time."

However, Lord Harris of High Cross, chairman of the smokers' rights group FOREST, accused ministers of "petty persecution" of smokers.

Long term care

The Health and Social Care Modernisation Bill will make the NHS responsible for paying for nursing care in nursing homes.

People with dementia will be forced to pay for personal care

Paul Burstow, Liberal Democrat spokesman for older people
In future people assessed as needing nursing care will not have to pay for the services of registered nurses in homes.

The legislation will also extend the scope of the direct payments scheme, whereby local authorities make direct payments to individuals to enable them to buy their own care.

Paul Burstow MP, Liberal Democrat Spokesman for older people, said the government had failed to adopt the recommendation of the Royal Commission on long term care to provide social care for free.

He said: "Free nursing care is a halfway house. People with dementia will be forced to pay for personal care such as help with washing and bathing which hospital patients get for free."

From April next year, a National Health Performance Fund worth up to 500 million a year by 2003-4 will be made available for NHS Trusts that are performing well.

The fund will provide 5 million for each health authority area to be distributed to trusts as a "reward" for progress.

Legislation will also enable the Health Secretary to make payments direct to NHS Trusts and Primary Care Trusts and instruct them on how the funds should be used if necessary.

Access to the cash would depend on a "traffic light" system with preference being given to the best performing "green" organisations.

GP surgeries

A new programme of public-private partnerships - similar to that already used to build hospitals - is planned to finance primary care facilities such as GP surgeries.

Priority will be given to those areas, such as inner cities, where primary care services are most in need of expansion.

An equity stake company called NHS Lift (NHS Local Improvement Finance Trust) will unlock up to 1 billion of investment, leading to the refurbishment of up to 3,000 family doctors' premises by 2004.

Another change will extend prescribing rights to a wider range of health professionals, including nurses, chiropodists, physiotherapists and pharmacists.

Under the proposals, the 1968 Medicines Act will be amended to designate new groups of prescribers and limit or specify the medicines they can prescribe.

An advisory body will be set up to consider whether prescribing rights should be granted to any additional groups of health professionals.




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06 Dec 00 | Health
05 Oct 00 | Health
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