Freedom to Choose Scotland has issued a press release on this project following last week's Written Answers. In answer to Richard Simpson MSP, Health Secretary, Shona Robison gave this answer (emphasis added):
In March 2010, following extensive consultation with key stakeholders, we announced that new guidance would be prepared to help mental health residential service providers move towards establishing smoke-free environments. The aim of this guidance, which is being developed by NHS Health Scotland in consultation with key stakeholders and service users, will be to drive change at a pace which is acceptable to individual services, and, most importantly, to the service users themselves.As we stated in the press release, supported with references, the consultation results in no way endorsed this course of action, with over 50 per cent of respondents (including over 80 per cent of patient groups) voting to retain the smoking ban exemption that has existed for psychiatric facilities since the smoking ban came in, and only 12 per cent of respondents voting for 'guidance' (meaning effectively bringing in changes to smoking provisions laid down by health boards piecemeal and through the back door). The notion that this is intended to do anything recommended by patients on this issue is breathtakingly inaccurate.
Also referred to in the press release is mention of 'residential' service providers. The public consultation did not refer to any difference between acute and continuing care patients, although an earlier consultation with service providers found that almost half had reservations with imposing a smoking ban on continuing care patients even though most of them thought a ban would be appropriate for acute patients. The word 'residential' (rather than 'clinical') suggests strongly that a comprehensive smoking ban for all services including continuing care services is now planned.
Digital Feat pronounced the following in their account:
In January 2009, the Scottish Government consulted stakeholders, service users and the public on the best way to achieve smoke-free mental health services in Scotland. The consultation sought views on the production of detailed guidance without the need to amend existing legislation. As no clear consensus emerged on how to move towards smoke-free mental health services, guidance was viewed as a solution which avoided legislative bureaucracy and could effect change quickly.Author Duncan doesn't observe that many people in the consultation expressed open disagreement with the very idea of smoke-free mental health services. In other words although respondents were asked whether they wanted to keep the current exemption, it seems clear from the rest of the consultation that the question was how, not whether, mental health services should go smoke-free. Duncan clearly has no problem with further change being managed a) in spite of service users' wishes, clearly expressed in the Consultation, and b) without being subject to Parliamentary scrutiny.
Freedom to Choose (Scotland) last year mounted a petition on this consultation in 2009. Our final submission to the Public Petitions Committee is here. The petition was closed in September 2009 without any of its concerns being publicly aired. Why am I surprised?
They never listen.