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 The leading web portal for pharmacy resources, news, education and careers December 22, 2014
Pharmacy Choice - Pharmaceutical News - Carstairs smoking ban 'against human rights' [Scotsman, The (Scotland)] - December 22, 2014

Pharmacy News Article

 2/15/13 - Carstairs smoking ban 'against human rights' [Scotsman, The (Scotland)]

A PATIENT of the State Hospital at Carstairs has mounted a legal challenge to a complete ban on smoking at the high-security facility.Charles McCann claims that being prevented from lighting up breaches his human rights, and he wants a court to declare the policy unlawful and to award him GBP3,000 in damages.Management of the hospital are defending his action at the Court of Session in Edinburgh, insisting that the blanket ban was introduced for the sake of the health of patients and staff.Lord Stewart has started hearing submissions in the case.The court heard Mr McCann, who was not present, had been ordered to be detained without limit of time in the State Hospital because he suffered from mental disorder and was considered dangerous. No details were disclosed of the offence for which he was prosecuted .Any plans ultimately to release him would have to be approved by the Scottish Government's mental health unit.In 2011 the State Hospital Board for Scotland distributed a questionnaire and 86 per cent of patients, 84 per cent of carers and 54 per cent of staff supported a "partial prohibition". A trial started with smoking allowed in designated areas in the hospital grounds, and help was given to patients trying to kick the habit.However, the board said, a number of "operational problems" arose, such as increased numbers of higher-risk patients requesting grounds access. It was decided a partial ban was unworkable and a total ban was introduced.Mr McCann's lawyers told the judge: "He wishes to be permitted to smoke. He is not allowed to smoke or have tobacco products in his possession. The State Hospital is a large facility with extensive grounds."The lawyers pointed out that jail prisoners were not subjected to a complete smoking ban."(The board) have acted irrationally in adopting the policy they have and at the time they did," it was claimed."They were in the process of undertaking a period of assessment in relation to a partial ban. Without further explanation, the decision to move to a complete ban is irrational... they have provided no rational reason for why they changed their decision to monitor the position and review it," it was claimed."The smoking ban had a significant impact on the lives of patients at the State Hospital. There is no good reason for the different treatment of (Mr McCann) compared with individuals in prison or other hospitals."The desirability of any given patient giving up smoking does not justify a blanket ban."The board maintained that a complete ban was adopted "in pursuit of a legitimate aim, namely the health of the patients in its care."

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