The British Medical Association (BMA) has expressed frustration at the government’s lack of progress in improving the nation’s health, despite the White Paper last autumn.
In a submission to an inquiry by the Parliamentary Health Select Committee into the Choosing Health White Paper, the BMA said it is seriously concerned about the government’s timescale for implementing its proposals. It described the state of public health in the UK as a ‘time bomb’.
“For every year without legislation to ban second-hand smoke in enclosed public places, at least 1,000 lives in the UK are lost,” it estimated.
BMA head of science and ethics, Dr Vivienne Nathanson, said: “Why do we have to wait so long for legislation to tackle the current public health crisis? When lives need saving, doctors act immediately. The government should follow this lead.”
On alcohol, for instance, there was a lack of measures to tackle the effects of excess drinking, said the BMA, and dealing with alcohol-related public health issues was the weakest part of the document.