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Last Updated: Monday, 30 January 2006, 16:30 GMT
Health Bill
AIM
This bill implements various public health proposals, particularly restricting smoking in public places, and improving levels of hygiene in hospitals as a means of tackling hospital-acquired infections like MRSA.

MAIN PROVISIONS
TIMETABLE
Responsible department: Dept of Health
Origin: Commons
Introduced: 27 Oct 2005
Second reading: 29 Nov 2005
Committee stage: 6, 8, 13, 15 & 20 Dec 2005; 10 Jan 2006
Remaining stages: 14 Feb 2006
Consideration of Lords amendments: 18 July 2006
LORDS:
First reading: 15 Feb 2006
Second reading: 1 March 2006
Committee stage: 20 & 24 April, 9, 15, 22, 25 May 2006
Report stage: 19 & 26 June 2006
Third reading: 4 July 2006

ROYAL ASSENT: 19 July 2006
  • Government depts and most of the NHS to be smoke-free by the end of 2006; all work and enclosed places to be smoke free by the end of 2007; and smoking to be banned in all places preparing or serving food by 2008.
  • Manifesto commitment to improve hospital hygiene to be pursued via a new code of practice and inspection regime for NHS bodies and care homes, including appropriate sanctions for shortfalls.
  • Main exclusions from the ban are pubs and bars that don't serve food, and there is provision for exempting care homes, prisons and hotels.

    KEY VOTES
    14 February 2006
    Commons report stage
  • MPs voted 384 to 184 in favour of an amendment for a comprehensive ban on smoking in public places
  • 13 cabinet ministers incl the PM voted in favour and 6 against incl the deputy PM
  • There was a free vote on 3 options:
    -comprehensive ban
    -ban excl food-free pubs/clubs
    -ban excl private club

    19 June 2006
    Lords report stage

  • Peers voted 221 to 70 against lifting the ban on smoking in certain premises where food is served
  • Peers voted 157 to 97 against allowing private clubs to be exempt from the ban

    BACKGROUND
    Emanated from the government's 2004 white paper, 'Choosing Health'.

    The partial ban on smoking in public places has proved very controversial , and the Chief Medical Officer, Sir Liam Donaldson, threatened to resign over the issue.

    The new Health Secretary Patricia Hewitt made reference to this law in her debut speech for the department on 13 May.

    Ms Hewitt referred to the standards of hygiene in food factories as a template for the improvements.

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