The RCP in Wales has responded to the National Assembly for Wales Health, Social Care and Sport Committee consultation on the Public Health (Wales) Bill.
The RCP has identified several key priorities for public health in Wales:
- The new Public Health (Wales) Bill should provide an enabling framework which will galvanise and support the Welsh Government and other bodies to address emerging public health issues as they arise.
- Integration and collaboration on public health must be embedded across the NHS, local authorities and the Welsh Government and a duty should be placed on Welsh Ministers to make regulations to require public bodies to carry out health impact assessments in specified circumstances.
- We support restrictions on smoking in enclosed and substantially enclosed public and work places and agree that the Welsh Ministers should have regulation-making powers to extend the restrictions on smoking to additional premises or vehicles.
- We strongly support restrictions on smoking in hospital grounds, school grounds and public playgrounds.
- We support the proposal to introduce mandatory national licensing system for practitioners of specified ‘special procedures’ in Wales. The committee should consider recommending that the age of consent contained within this Bill be raised to 18.
- We strongly support the introduction of a minimum unit price for alcohol.
- Public health and community safety should be given priority in all policy-making about alcohol. This is why we support the introduction of a public health licensing objective.
- We urge the Welsh Government to explore the use of taxes on unhealthy foods, starting with sugary soft drinks, as both a lever to support behaviour change and as a means for raising revenue for health promotion.
- We welcome the UK government’s commitment to a tax on sugar-sweetened drinks, and we urge the Welsh Government to follow suit when appropriate.