- Britain’s parliament has approved legislation to ban branding on cigarette packs, drawing immediate threats of legal action from the country’s $38 billion tobacco industry.
- High regional unemployment and controversial coal seam gas projects demonstrate why country NSW voters should back Labor in the upcoming state election, the Opposition Leader says.
- The Victorian Government will ask the auditor-general to investigate complaints of harassment in the state’s public hospital system.
News on Health Professional Radio. Today is the 13th March 2015. Read by Rebecca Foster.
Britain’s parliament has approved legislation to ban branding on cigarette packs, drawing immediate threats of legal action from the country’s $38 billion tobacco industry.
The measure is aimed at improving public health and cutting the number of child smokers, and is likely to crimp tobacco company profits.
The legislation follows Australia’s lead, who in 2012 was the first country to enact a law forcing cigarettes to be sold in plain, olive-green packaging with images showing the damaging effects of smoking.
British lawmakers effectively ended years of political debate, private lobbying and public consultation by passing the legislation by a margin of 367 votes to 113.
The proposal must still be debated and passed by the upper house of parliament before becoming law.
British American Tobacco said it anticipated launching a legal challenge within 30 days of the legislation’s final approval.
Imperial Tobacco Group said if the measure became law, the firm would be “left with no choice but to defend our legal rights in court”.
Japan Tobacco International said it expected to challenge the legislation and Philip Morris International said it was prepared to seek compensation.
The new rules would initially take effect in England only, though the Welsh government has said it would follow suit and Northern Ireland and Scotland were considering a similar step.
Tobacco is responsible for 6 million deaths a year globally and the World Health Organisation estimates the number could rise beyond 8 million by 2030.
High regional unemployment and controversial coal seam gas projects demonstrate why country NSW voters should back Labor in the upcoming state election, the Opposition Leader says.
Luke Foley travelled to the Upper Hunter region to pitch himself to regional voters at Country Labor’s campaign launch, where he also promised to boost financial help for rural and regional patients who need to travel for specialist medical care.
He said his party would increase the fuel subsidy available to such patients by 58 per cent and the commercial accommodation allowance by 39 per cent.
The “modest” increase would push the Isolated Patients Travel and Accommodation Assistance Scheme fuel subsidy up by 11 cents, to 30 cents per kilometre.
The accommodation subsidy would increase to $60 per night for a single room and $83 per night for a double room.
Labor hopes to regain a number of seats in the Hunter currently held by expelled Liberal MPs swept up in last year’s political donations scandal.
The Victorian Government will ask the auditor-general to investigate complaints of harassment in the state’s public hospital system.
The move follows the resignation of a senior surgeon at The Alfred hospital in Melbourne, following multiple allegations of sexual harassment.
Fairfax newspapers reported the serious complaints were brought against the unnamed surgeon by seven junior surgeons and other medical staff last year.
A hospital spokesman said the surgeon resigned due to ill health.
Health Minister Jill Hennessy said bullying and harassment in Victoria’s hospitals, like in any workplace, was simply unacceptable.
Ms Hennessy will ask the state’s auditor-general to investigate the issues in the context of a wider audit into occupational violence or separately if necessary.
She also said she wanted examples of “best practice” that could be shared.
The chief of Alfred Health, which owns The Alfred and two other hospitals, Associate Professor Andrew Way, released a statement that said the issues recently brought forward by a former staff member were “highly concerning”.
Associate Professor Way said the hospital did not tolerate “inappropriate workplace behaviour”.
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