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Scottish Bill passed to protect public from contamination

Bill also bans sunbed use in under 18s

OnMedica Staff

Friday, 13 June 2008

The Scottish Government's Public Health Bill has been passed by MSPs with the aim of offering better protection from the threat of infectious diseases and contamination.

The Bill will extend current laws to include action for protection against biological, chemical and radiological contamination, including more powers of quarantine.

The Bill's provisions have been subject to scrutiny and debate since last October, and involve strengthening health board and local authority powers to act when individuals, premises or any item pose a major risk to public health.

The Bill also regulates the use of sunbeds and will, ban the use of sunbeds by under 18s.

Public Health Minister Shona Robison said: "In a world that is increasingly accessible, largely due to the ease of overseas travel, the threat of infectious diseases and contamination is an issue facing every country.

"This major piece of legislation will ensure appropriate measures are in place to safeguard the public from existing and emerging threats to public health.

"It also puts in place new laws, the first in the UK, which protect young people from the dangers of sunbeds and sends out a clear signal about the health risks to the wider public.

"Reform of our public health legislation from 1889 is long overdue and this Bill will equip Scotland for a healthy future."

Key provisions of the Bill include setting out the notification arrangements for infectious diseases, organisms and health risk states and introducing powers to quarantine people and exclude them from school and work where there is a risk to public health. In addition, the Bill includes powers to require a person to be disinfected, disinfested or decontaminated, in defined circumstances.


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