Tag Archives: rules

Government to relax immigration rules on overseas doctors

Thousands more overseas doctors will be able to come and work in the NHS after Theresa May heeded pleas from cabinet colleagues to scrap limits that hospital bosses had criticised as “absolutely barmy”.

The relaxation of immigration rules, which is due to be announced imminently, represents a victory for Jeremy Hunt and Sajid Javid and follows a vociferous campaign by NHS organisations and medical groups.

They have been arguing that medics should be taken out of the cap on skilled workers allowed to work in Britain, in order to help tackle the NHS’s deepening workforce crisis.

Hunt, the health and social care secretary, and Javid, the home secretary, have been privately lobbying the prime minister to ease restrictions that between November and April denied more than 2,300 doctors from outside the European Economic Area the chance to work in the NHS.

Under the current immigration system the number of non-EEA skilled workers of all sorts able to come and work in Britain on a tier-2 visa through a certificate of sponsorship is capped at 20,700 a year – a ceiling set by the Home Office.

However, the government has decided that the NHS’s need for more doctors is so great that they should be treated differently, well-placed sources have told the Guardian. The rethink should mean that doctors are no longer left unable to take up job offers from hospitals and GP surgeries because they cannot get a visa.

There will now be a separate system to decide which medics come.

Recent official figures show that the NHS in England alone is short of 9,982 doctors. Those refused tier-2 visas in recent months have included GPs, psychiatrists and cancer specialists, all of which have a significant number of vacancies.

Hospitals have said their inability to recruit doctors from outside the EEA would lead to patients facing longer waiting times for treatment and hit patient safety.

Andrew Foster, chief executive of the Wrightington, Wigan and Leigh NHS hospital trust recently condemned the “bonkers decision” to ban doctors whom the NHS desperately needed. “It’s absolutely barmy that one branch of government is trying to increase the capacity of the NHS and another branch is stopping it from doing so”, he said.

“Last year we got 60 doctors and we had no trouble with visas. This year, [during] the first two months we were denied all visas and in the latest round we have been successful in less than 10 cases out of the 100 [they had applied for].”

Hospitals have been unable to hire doctors they had identified as highly skilled and necessary recruits because the cap on the number of professionals given a visa has been reached in each of the last seven months.

The Home Office had made clear that if the rules were to change so they would operate differently in the third quarter of the year, which includes August, when newly-qualified young doctors start their NHS training, any relaxation of the policy had to be agreed by the end of this week.

It is unclear if nurses will also be taken out of the cap system. They are already classed as a shortage occupation by the Home Office’s migration advisory committee. As such some nurses have been deemed a greater priority than doctors in recent months when officials have been deciding who will get tier-2 visas.

Hunt has argued that doctors and nurses should be treated differently to other skilled migrants on a temporary basis, until increases in the numbers of homegrown staff he has instigated produce more British NHS staff.

“If reports that the cap will be lifted for doctors are true, it will be a welcome relief to trusts in addressing immediate staff shortages, to help ensure safe, high quality care,” said Saffron Cordery, deputy chief executive of NHS Providers, which represents NHS trusts in England.

“These visa restrictions have been a major obstacle to recruiting much-needed medical staff. For trusts it has resulted in unfilled vacancies, often filled by paying premium locum rates. For doctors, they may have given up on working in the NHS and decided to work in another country.”

Government to relax immigration rules on overseas doctors

Thousands more overseas doctors will be able to come and work in the NHS after Theresa May heeded pleas from cabinet colleagues to scrap limits that hospital bosses had criticised as “absolutely barmy”.

The relaxation of immigration rules, which is due to be announced imminently, represents a victory for Jeremy Hunt and Sajid Javid and follows a vociferous campaign by NHS organisations and medical groups.

They have been arguing that medics should be taken out of the cap on skilled workers allowed to work in Britain, in order to help tackle the NHS’s deepening workforce crisis.

Hunt, the health and social care secretary, and Javid, the home secretary, have been privately lobbying the prime minister to ease restrictions that between November and April denied more than 2,300 doctors from outside the European Economic Area the chance to work in the NHS.

Under the current immigration system the number of non-EEA skilled workers of all sorts able to come and work in Britain on a tier-2 visa through a certificate of sponsorship is capped at 20,700 a year – a ceiling set by the Home Office.

However, the government has decided that the NHS’s need for more doctors is so great that they should be treated differently, well-placed sources have told the Guardian. The rethink should mean that doctors are no longer left unable to take up job offers from hospitals and GP surgeries because they cannot get a visa.

There will now be a separate system to decide which medics come.

Recent official figures show that the NHS in England alone is short of 9,982 doctors. Those refused tier-2 visas in recent months have included GPs, psychiatrists and cancer specialists, all of which have a significant number of vacancies.

Hospitals have said their inability to recruit doctors from outside the EEA would lead to patients facing longer waiting times for treatment and hit patient safety.

Andrew Foster, chief executive of the Wrightington, Wigan and Leigh NHS hospital trust recently condemned the “bonkers decision” to ban doctors whom the NHS desperately needed. “It’s absolutely barmy that one branch of government is trying to increase the capacity of the NHS and another branch is stopping it from doing so”, he said.

“Last year we got 60 doctors and we had no trouble with visas. This year, [during] the first two months we were denied all visas and in the latest round we have been successful in less than 10 cases out of the 100 [they had applied for].”

Hospitals have been unable to hire doctors they had identified as highly skilled and necessary recruits because the cap on the number of professionals given a visa has been reached in each of the last seven months.

The Home Office had made clear that if the rules were to change so they would operate differently in the third quarter of the year, which includes August, when newly-qualified young doctors start their NHS training, any relaxation of the policy had to be agreed by the end of this week.

It is unclear if nurses will also be taken out of the cap system. They are already classed as a shortage occupation by the Home Office’s migration advisory committee. As such some nurses have been deemed a greater priority than doctors in recent months when officials have been deciding who will get tier-2 visas.

Hunt has argued that doctors and nurses should be treated differently to other skilled migrants on a temporary basis, until increases in the numbers of homegrown staff he has instigated produce more British NHS staff.

“If reports that the cap will be lifted for doctors are true, it will be a welcome relief to trusts in addressing immediate staff shortages, to help ensure safe, high quality care,” said Saffron Cordery, deputy chief executive of NHS Providers, which represents NHS trusts in England.

“These visa restrictions have been a major obstacle to recruiting much-needed medical staff. For trusts it has resulted in unfilled vacancies, often filled by paying premium locum rates. For doctors, they may have given up on working in the NHS and decided to work in another country.”

Government to relax immigration rules on overseas doctors

Thousands more overseas doctors will be able to come and work in the NHS after Theresa May heeded pleas from cabinet colleagues to scrap limits that hospital bosses had criticised as “absolutely barmy”.

The relaxation of immigration rules, which is due to be announced imminently, represents a victory for Jeremy Hunt and Sajid Javid and follows a vociferous campaign by NHS organisations and medical groups.

They have been arguing that medics should be taken out of the cap on skilled workers allowed to work in Britain, in order to help tackle the NHS’s deepening workforce crisis.

Hunt, the health and social care secretary, and Javid, the home secretary, have been privately lobbying the prime minister to ease restrictions that between November and April denied more than 2,300 doctors from outside the European Economic Area the chance to work in the NHS.

Under the current immigration system the number of non-EEA skilled workers of all sorts able to come and work in Britain on a tier-2 visa through a certificate of sponsorship is capped at 20,700 a year – a ceiling set by the Home Office.

However, the government has decided that the NHS’s need for more doctors is so great that they should be treated differently, well-placed sources have told the Guardian. The rethink should mean that doctors are no longer left unable to take up job offers from hospitals and GP surgeries because they cannot get a visa.

There will now be a separate system to decide which medics come.

Recent official figures show that the NHS in England alone is short of 9,982 doctors. Those refused tier-2 visas in recent months have included GPs, psychiatrists and cancer specialists, all of which have a significant number of vacancies.

Hospitals have said their inability to recruit doctors from outside the EEA would lead to patients facing longer waiting times for treatment and hit patient safety.

Andrew Foster, chief executive of the Wrightington, Wigan and Leigh NHS hospital trust recently condemned the “bonkers decision” to ban doctors whom the NHS desperately needed. “It’s absolutely barmy that one branch of government is trying to increase the capacity of the NHS and another branch is stopping it from doing so”, he said.

“Last year we got 60 doctors and we had no trouble with visas. This year, [during] the first two months we were denied all visas and in the latest round we have been successful in less than 10 cases out of the 100 [they had applied for].”

Hospitals have been unable to hire doctors they had identified as highly skilled and necessary recruits because the cap on the number of professionals given a visa has been reached in each of the last seven months.

The Home Office had made clear that if the rules were to change so they would operate differently in the third quarter of the year, which includes August, when newly-qualified young doctors start their NHS training, any relaxation of the policy had to be agreed by the end of this week.

It is unclear if nurses will also be taken out of the cap system. They are already classed as a shortage occupation by the Home Office’s migration advisory committee. As such some nurses have been deemed a greater priority than doctors in recent months when officials have been deciding who will get tier-2 visas.

Hunt has argued that doctors and nurses should be treated differently to other skilled migrants on a temporary basis, until increases in the numbers of homegrown staff he has instigated produce more British NHS staff.

“If reports that the cap will be lifted for doctors are true, it will be a welcome relief to trusts in addressing immediate staff shortages, to help ensure safe, high quality care,” said Saffron Cordery, deputy chief executive of NHS Providers, which represents NHS trusts in England.

“These visa restrictions have been a major obstacle to recruiting much-needed medical staff. For trusts it has resulted in unfilled vacancies, often filled by paying premium locum rates. For doctors, they may have given up on working in the NHS and decided to work in another country.”

Government to relax immigration rules on overseas doctors

Thousands more overseas doctors will be able to come and work in the NHS after Theresa May heeded pleas from cabinet colleagues to scrap limits that hospital bosses had criticised as “absolutely barmy”.

The relaxation of immigration rules, which is due to be announced imminently, represents a victory for Jeremy Hunt and Sajid Javid and follows a vociferous campaign by NHS organisations and medical groups.

They have been arguing that medics should be taken out of the cap on skilled workers allowed to work in Britain, in order to help tackle the NHS’s deepening workforce crisis.

Hunt, the health and social care secretary, and Javid, the home secretary, have been privately lobbying the prime minister to ease restrictions that between November and April denied more than 2,300 doctors from outside the European Economic Area the chance to work in the NHS.

Under the current immigration system the number of non-EEA skilled workers of all sorts able to come and work in Britain on a tier-2 visa through a certificate of sponsorship is capped at 20,700 a year – a ceiling set by the Home Office.

However, the government has decided that the NHS’s need for more doctors is so great that they should be treated differently, well-placed sources have told the Guardian. The rethink should mean that doctors are no longer left unable to take up job offers from hospitals and GP surgeries because they cannot get a visa.

There will now be a separate system to decide which medics come.

Recent official figures show that the NHS in England alone is short of 9,982 doctors. Those refused tier-2 visas in recent months have included GPs, psychiatrists and cancer specialists, all of which have a significant number of vacancies.

Hospitals have said their inability to recruit doctors from outside the EEA would lead to patients facing longer waiting times for treatment and hit patient safety.

Andrew Foster, chief executive of the Wrightington, Wigan and Leigh NHS hospital trust recently condemned the “bonkers decision” to ban doctors whom the NHS desperately needed. “It’s absolutely barmy that one branch of government is trying to increase the capacity of the NHS and another branch is stopping it from doing so”, he said.

“Last year we got 60 doctors and we had no trouble with visas. This year, [during] the first two months we were denied all visas and in the latest round we have been successful in less than 10 cases out of the 100 [they had applied for].”

Hospitals have been unable to hire doctors they had identified as highly skilled and necessary recruits because the cap on the number of professionals given a visa has been reached in each of the last seven months.

The Home Office had made clear that if the rules were to change so they would operate differently in the third quarter of the year, which includes August, when newly-qualified young doctors start their NHS training, any relaxation of the policy had to be agreed by the end of this week.

It is unclear if nurses will also be taken out of the cap system. They are already classed as a shortage occupation by the Home Office’s migration advisory committee. As such some nurses have been deemed a greater priority than doctors in recent months when officials have been deciding who will get tier-2 visas.

Hunt has argued that doctors and nurses should be treated differently to other skilled migrants on a temporary basis, until increases in the numbers of homegrown staff he has instigated produce more British NHS staff.

“If reports that the cap will be lifted for doctors are true, it will be a welcome relief to trusts in addressing immediate staff shortages, to help ensure safe, high quality care,” said Saffron Cordery, deputy chief executive of NHS Providers, which represents NHS trusts in England.

“These visa restrictions have been a major obstacle to recruiting much-needed medical staff. For trusts it has resulted in unfilled vacancies, often filled by paying premium locum rates. For doctors, they may have given up on working in the NHS and decided to work in another country.”

Government to relax immigration rules on overseas doctors

Thousands more overseas doctors will be able to come and work in the NHS after Theresa May heeded pleas from cabinet colleagues to scrap limits that hospital bosses had criticised as “absolutely barmy”.

The relaxation of immigration rules, which is due to be announced imminently, represents a victory for Jeremy Hunt and Sajid Javid and follows a vociferous campaign by NHS organisations and medical groups.

They have been arguing that medics should be taken out of the cap on skilled workers allowed to work in Britain, in order to help tackle the NHS’s deepening workforce crisis.

Hunt, the health and social care secretary, and Javid, the home secretary, have been privately lobbying the prime minister to ease restrictions that between November and April denied more than 2,300 doctors from outside the European Economic Area the chance to work in the NHS.

Under the current immigration system the number of non-EEA skilled workers of all sorts able to come and work in Britain on a tier-2 visa through a certificate of sponsorship is capped at 20,700 a year – a ceiling set by the Home Office.

However, the government has decided that the NHS’s need for more doctors is so great that they should be treated differently, well-placed sources have told the Guardian. The rethink should mean that doctors are no longer left unable to take up job offers from hospitals and GP surgeries because they cannot get a visa.

There will now be a separate system to decide which medics come.

Recent official figures show that the NHS in England alone is short of 9,982 doctors. Those refused tier-2 visas in recent months have included GPs, psychiatrists and cancer specialists, all of which have a significant number of vacancies.

Hospitals have said their inability to recruit doctors from outside the EEA would lead to patients facing longer waiting times for treatment and hit patient safety.

Andrew Foster, chief executive of the Wrightington, Wigan and Leigh NHS hospital trust recently condemned the “bonkers decision” to ban doctors whom the NHS desperately needed. “It’s absolutely barmy that one branch of government is trying to increase the capacity of the NHS and another branch is stopping it from doing so”, he said.

“Last year we got 60 doctors and we had no trouble with visas. This year, [during] the first two months we were denied all visas and in the latest round we have been successful in less than 10 cases out of the 100 [they had applied for].”

Hospitals have been unable to hire doctors they had identified as highly skilled and necessary recruits because the cap on the number of professionals given a visa has been reached in each of the last seven months.

The Home Office had made clear that if the rules were to change so they would operate differently in the third quarter of the year, which includes August, when newly-qualified young doctors start their NHS training, any relaxation of the policy had to be agreed by the end of this week.

It is unclear if nurses will also be taken out of the cap system. They are already classed as a shortage occupation by the Home Office’s migration advisory committee. As such some nurses have been deemed a greater priority than doctors in recent months when officials have been deciding who will get tier-2 visas.

Hunt has argued that doctors and nurses should be treated differently to other skilled migrants on a temporary basis, until increases in the numbers of homegrown staff he has instigated produce more British NHS staff.

“If reports that the cap will be lifted for doctors are true, it will be a welcome relief to trusts in addressing immediate staff shortages, to help ensure safe, high quality care,” said Saffron Cordery, deputy chief executive of NHS Providers, which represents NHS trusts in England.

“These visa restrictions have been a major obstacle to recruiting much-needed medical staff. For trusts it has resulted in unfilled vacancies, often filled by paying premium locum rates. For doctors, they may have given up on working in the NHS and decided to work in another country.”

Changes to EU working rules will ‘put patients’ lives at risk’, say medics

Representatives of British doctors, psychiatrists and nursing staff have warned that weakening working time regulations as part of the Brexit process would put the lives of patients at risk.

Changes to the current EU rules on a working week, rest entitlements and paid leave in the UK, with the option of opt out, have been mooted by members of Theresa May’s cabinet when discussing their vision of post-Brexit Britain.

But leaders from the British Medical Association (BMA), along with 12 royal colleges and trade unions, have urged Theresa May to stand firm against Brexiters who want to scrap European laws, warning of risks to patient safety.

In a letter to the prime minister, medical leaders ask May to put her promises to protect British workers into pre-Brexit written guarantees to head off a simmering campaign within the cabinet, reportedly being led by environment secretary Michael Gove and other Brexiters, to relax the law.

“Twenty-five years ago, the phenomenon of health professionals working 90-hour weeks, and the attendant risks this posed, was all too common in the NHS. The worst excesses of these working arrangements were only curtailed following the arrival of EU-derived legislation limiting hours,” reads the letter from the BMA and other medical organisations.

The EU working time directive (WTR) is incorporated into UK law and protects the right to restricted hours of work, regular rest breaks, health and safety protection and paid holidays.

Medical professionals say in their letter that they are concerned patients’ safety would be put at risk if there was any diminution of the WTR.

It says that even with the EU regulations in place, “fatigue, caused by excessive overwork, remains an occupational hazard for many staff at the NHS” – a point echoed in a statement by the head of the Royal College of Nursing, a signatory to the letter.

Janet Davies, chief executive and general secretary of the RCN, said: “Nurses are driven to do the best they can for their patients, but however dedicated, clinical staff overtired from working excessive hours could become a risk to the very people they are trying to treat.

“Working time regulations put an end to the excessive hours of the past, and in doing so made care safer.

“It should be clear to the government that removing or weakening working time regulations would put patients at serious risk.”

Earlier this week, May dismissed claims that the government was planning to ditch the directive, insisting she intended to “not only maintain but also enhance workers’ rights”.

She was responding to reports that Gove and others wanted to return the power to employers and to give the “ordinary British worker” the opportunity to do more overtime and make extra money.

Other signatories to the letter are the Royal College of Emergency Medicine, Royal College of Anaesthetists, Royal College of General Practitioners, Royal College of Midwives, British Dental Association, Royal College of Opthamologists, Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health, Royal College of Physicians, Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh, Royal College of Radiologists and the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists.

The medical profession associations call on May not to renege on her promise, made at the Conservative party conference to guarantee workers’ rights in law.

Many doctors, particularly junior doctors, work more than 48 hours a week because of shift patterns, the BMA said. Many will work at least between 48 and 56 hours and many will stay over to finish paperwork or see a clinic or patient through.

Recent reporting data from within the NHS showed that one doctor in a trust in Croydon worked 81 hours in one week this year.

But the BMA says the WTR has reduced significantly the amount of incidents like this.

Changes to EU working rules will ‘put patients’ lives at risk’, say medics

Representatives of British doctors, psychiatrists and nursing staff have warned that weakening working time regulations as part of the Brexit process would put the lives of patients at risk.

Changes to the current EU rules on a working week, rest entitlements and paid leave in the UK, with the option of opt out, have been mooted by members of Theresa May’s cabinet when discussing their vision of post-Brexit Britain.

But leaders from the British Medical Association (BMA), along with 12 royal colleges and trade unions, have urged Theresa May to stand firm against Brexiters who want to scrap European laws, warning of risks to patient safety.

In a letter to the prime minister, medical leaders ask May to put her promises to protect British workers into pre-Brexit written guarantees to head off a simmering campaign within the cabinet, reportedly being led by environment secretary Michael Gove and other Brexiters, to relax the law.

“Twenty-five years ago, the phenomenon of health professionals working 90-hour weeks, and the attendant risks this posed, was all too common in the NHS. The worst excesses of these working arrangements were only curtailed following the arrival of EU-derived legislation limiting hours,” reads the letter from the BMA and other medical organisations.

The EU working time directive (WTR) is incorporated into UK law and protects the right to restricted hours of work, regular rest breaks, health and safety protection and paid holidays.

Medical professionals say in their letter that they are concerned patients’ safety would be put at risk if there was any diminution of the WTR.

It says that even with the EU regulations in place, “fatigue, caused by excessive overwork, remains an occupational hazard for many staff at the NHS” – a point echoed in a statement by the head of the Royal College of Nursing, a signatory to the letter.

Janet Davies, chief executive and general secretary of the RCN, said: “Nurses are driven to do the best they can for their patients, but however dedicated, clinical staff overtired from working excessive hours could become a risk to the very people they are trying to treat.

“Working time regulations put an end to the excessive hours of the past, and in doing so made care safer.

“It should be clear to the government that removing or weakening working time regulations would put patients at serious risk.”

Earlier this week, May dismissed claims that the government was planning to ditch the directive, insisting she intended to “not only maintain but also enhance workers’ rights”.

She was responding to reports that Gove and others wanted to return the power to employers and to give the “ordinary British worker” the opportunity to do more overtime and make extra money.

Other signatories to the letter are the Royal College of Emergency Medicine, Royal College of Anaesthetists, Royal College of General Practitioners, Royal College of Midwives, British Dental Association, Royal College of Opthamologists, Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health, Royal College of Physicians, Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh, Royal College of Radiologists and the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists.

The medical profession associations call on May not to renege on her promise, made at the Conservative party conference to guarantee workers’ rights in law.

Many doctors, particularly junior doctors, work more than 48 hours a week because of shift patterns, the BMA said. Many will work at least between 48 and 56 hours and many will stay over to finish paperwork or see a clinic or patient through.

Recent reporting data from within the NHS showed that one doctor in a trust in Croydon worked 81 hours in one week this year.

But the BMA says the WTR has reduced significantly the amount of incidents like this.

Changes to EU working rules will ‘put patients’ lives at risk’, say medics

Representatives of British doctors, psychiatrists and nursing staff have warned that weakening working time regulations as part of the Brexit process would put the lives of patients at risk.

Changes to the current EU rules on a working week, rest entitlements and paid leave in the UK, with the option of opt out, have been mooted by members of Theresa May’s cabinet when discussing their vision of post-Brexit Britain.

But leaders from the British Medical Association (BMA), along with 12 royal colleges and trade unions, have urged Theresa May to stand firm against Brexiters who want to scrap European laws, warning of risks to patient safety.

In a letter to the prime minister, medical leaders ask May to put her promises to protect British workers into pre-Brexit written guarantees to head off a simmering campaign within the cabinet, reportedly being led by environment secretary Michael Gove and other Brexiters, to relax the law.

“Twenty-five years ago, the phenomenon of health professionals working 90-hour weeks, and the attendant risks this posed, was all too common in the NHS. The worst excesses of these working arrangements were only curtailed following the arrival of EU-derived legislation limiting hours,” reads the letter from the BMA and other medical organisations.

The EU working time directive (WTR) is incorporated into UK law and protects the right to restricted hours of work, regular rest breaks, health and safety protection and paid holidays.

Medical professionals say in their letter that they are concerned patients’ safety would be put at risk if there was any diminution of the WTR.

It says that even with the EU regulations in place, “fatigue, caused by excessive overwork, remains an occupational hazard for many staff at the NHS” – a point echoed in a statement by the head of the Royal College of Nursing, a signatory to the letter.

Janet Davies, chief executive and general secretary of the RCN, said: “Nurses are driven to do the best they can for their patients, but however dedicated, clinical staff overtired from working excessive hours could become a risk to the very people they are trying to treat.

“Working time regulations put an end to the excessive hours of the past, and in doing so made care safer.

“It should be clear to the government that removing or weakening working time regulations would put patients at serious risk.”

Earlier this week, May dismissed claims that the government was planning to ditch the directive, insisting she intended to “not only maintain but also enhance workers’ rights”.

She was responding to reports that Gove and others wanted to return the power to employers and to give the “ordinary British worker” the opportunity to do more overtime and make extra money.

Other signatories to the letter are the Royal College of Emergency Medicine, Royal College of Anaesthetists, Royal College of General Practitioners, Royal College of Midwives, British Dental Association, Royal College of Opthamologists, Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health, Royal College of Physicians, Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh, Royal College of Radiologists and the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists.

The medical profession associations call on May not to renege on her promise, made at the Conservative party conference to guarantee workers’ rights in law.

Many doctors, particularly junior doctors, work more than 48 hours a week because of shift patterns, the BMA said. Many will work at least between 48 and 56 hours and many will stay over to finish paperwork or see a clinic or patient through.

Recent reporting data from within the NHS showed that one doctor in a trust in Croydon worked 81 hours in one week this year.

But the BMA says the WTR has reduced significantly the amount of incidents like this.

Smoking ban cannot be enforced in jails, UK supreme court rules

A prisoner suffering from poor health has lost his attempt to enforce the smoking ban in English and Welsh jails after the supreme court ruled that crown premises are effectively exempt from the enforcement of health regulations.

The unanimous judgment from the UK’s highest court will prevent the inmate, Paul Black, from calling the NHS’s smoke-free compliance line to report breaches of the ban.

Lady Hale, the president of the supreme court, said she was driven with “considerable reluctance” to conclude that when parliament passed the 2006 Health Act, prohibiting smoking in offices, bars and enclosed areas, it did not mean to extend it to government or crown sites.

The standard practice is that a statutory provision does not bind the crown unless legislation adopts words explicitly stating so or by what is known as “necessary implication”.

“Had parliament intended part 1 of chapter 1 of the 2006 act to bind the crown, nothing would have been easier than to insert such a provision,” Hale explained.

“The report of the health committee [at the time] does indicate that parliament was alive to the question of whether the smoking ban would bind the crown and aware of the case for further exemptions if the act were to do so.

“It might well be thought desirable, especially by and for civil servants and others working in or visiting government departments, if the smoking ban did bind the crown,” she added. “But the legislation is quite workable without doing so.”

Black, a non-smoker, is serving an indeterminate sentence of imprisonment at HMP Wymott. He has a number of health problems that are exacerbated by tobacco smoke and complained that the smoking ban was not being properly enforced in the common parts of the prison.

He issued proceedings for judicial review of the secretary of state’s refusal to provide confidential and anonymous access to the NHS smoke-free compliance line to prisoners. This would have enabled prisoners to report breaches of the smoking ban to the local authority charged with enforcing it.

Black won his claim in the high court but lost at the court of appeal. The Ministry of Justice has so far phased in smoking bans in more than half of the 120 prisons in England and Wales.

Smoking ban cannot be enforced in jails, UK supreme court rules

A prisoner suffering from poor health has lost his attempt to enforce the smoking ban in English and Welsh jails after the supreme court ruled that crown premises are effectively exempt from the enforcement of health regulations.

The unanimous judgment from the UK’s highest court will prevent the inmate, Paul Black, from calling the NHS’s smoke-free compliance line to report breaches of the ban.

Lady Hale, the president of the supreme court, said she was driven with “considerable reluctance” to conclude that when parliament passed the 2006 Health Act, prohibiting smoking in offices, bars and enclosed areas, it did not mean to extend it to government or crown sites.

The standard practice is that a statutory provision does not bind the crown unless legislation adopts words explicitly stating so or by what is known as “necessary implication”.

“Had parliament intended part 1 of chapter 1 of the 2006 act to bind the crown, nothing would have been easier than to insert such a provision,” Hale explained.

“The report of the health committee [at the time] does indicate that parliament was alive to the question of whether the smoking ban would bind the crown and aware of the case for further exemptions if the act were to do so.

“It might well be thought desirable, especially by and for civil servants and others working in or visiting government departments, if the smoking ban did bind the crown,” she added. “But the legislation is quite workable without doing so.”

Black, a non-smoker, is serving an indeterminate sentence of imprisonment at HMP Wymott. He has a number of health problems that are exacerbated by tobacco smoke and complained that the smoking ban was not being properly enforced in the common parts of the prison.

He issued proceedings for judicial review of the secretary of state’s refusal to provide confidential and anonymous access to the NHS smoke-free compliance line to prisoners. This would have enabled prisoners to report breaches of the smoking ban to the local authority charged with enforcing it.

Black won his claim in the high court but lost at the court of appeal. The Ministry of Justice has so far phased in smoking bans in more than half of the 120 prisons in England and Wales.