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Last Updated: Thursday, 27 October 2005, 11:15 GMT 12:15 UK
Smoke ban bill details released
Man smoking
The government will look at how to protect pub staff
Details of how England's smoking ban will be introduced have been published in the government's Health Bill.

All workplaces, including restaurants and pubs selling food, will have to have a ban in place by summer 2007.

The bill also sets out a range of measures to protect patients from MRSA infections, and a repeat of the Shipman murders.

It also includes details of a new hygiene code for hospitals and reform of controlled drugs management.

This legislation is a huge step forward for public health
Health Secretary Patricia Hewitt

The bill was delayed by a day after cabinet wrangling over the workplace smoking ban details.

All workplaces, including restaurants and cafes, will now be covered by the ban, but non-food pubs and private members clubs will be exempt.

The deadline for a smoking ban in all workplaces will be summer 2007, bringing the original deadline for pubs and restaurants forward by 18 months.

The government has also announced it is planning to consult on how to protect bar workers in pubs where smoking is allowed.

The original consultation proposed a one metre smoke-free zone around the bar, but this was deemed to be unworkable.

'Wasted opportunity'

One of the ideas the new consultation will look at is the concept of smoking rooms, an idea Health Secretary Patricia Hewitt was said to have pushed for in cabinet discussions.

Smoking - Legislation to ban smoking in workplaces to be outlined, although certain pubs and private members clubs will be exempt
Superbugs - A new hygiene code of conduct to be introduced for health providers to help reduce hospital infections
Shipman safeguards - Tighter management of controlled drugs after inquiry into the GPs' murders
Pharmacies - Reform of way chemists work and the role of staff

Launching the bill, Mrs Hewitt said: "This legislation is a huge step forward for public health and will help reduce deaths from cancer, heart disease and other smoking-related diseases.

"Not only will we be able to protect non-smokers and the huge majority of pub workers from the harmful effects of smoke.

"It will also provide smokers with an environment where it's easier to give up."

The ban will be reviewed within three years of being introduced, and Mrs Hewitt described it as the "big step towards" a full ban.

The deal on a smoking ban, which was brokered by cabinet after weeks of wrangling represents a return to Labour's original pledge made in the Public Health White Paper last year.

However, the compromise has been condemned by the health lobby, campaigners and industry as unworkable.

Ms Hewitt also highlighted other parts of the bill, which was introduced into Parliament on Thursday.

The proposed hygiene code, which will be overseen by the Healthcare Commission, has been designed to tackle hospital-acquired infections. MRSA is linked to 1,000 deaths a year.

It will put a statutory duty on NHS trusts to ensure standards on hand-washing and ward-cleaning are adhered to.

Those who fail could face warnings and intervention.

Shipman murders

And the system for managing controlled drugs, such as diamorphine and temazepam, is also facing tougher regulation in the wake of the murders of patients committed by GP Harold Shipman.

Dame Janet Smith's inquiry into the Shipman murders called for changes to the system, pointing out there had been little revision of legislation since the 1970s.

The inquiry made the recommendations after Shipman, who killed up to 275 people over 23 years, was able to obtain large amounts of diamorphine without being detected.

NHS managers will be given powers to go into GP practices to allow closer scrutiny of doctors.

The Patients Association said both measures were needed to protect patients.

Chairman Michael Summers said: "The system of controlled drugs is outdated and needs reform, while we would welcome clearer lines of accountability over infections such as MRSA."

Other parts of the bill include proposals to pave the way for reform of pharmacies, including new roles for pharmacy staff.

What the ban will mean for pubs in England

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