REHIS News

“MANAGEMENT OF PUBLIC HEALTH INCIDENTS” GUIDANCE PUBLISHED

The NHS has published a document “Management of Public Health Incidents: Guidance on the Roles and Responsibilities of NHS Led Incident Management Teams”, which provides generic guidance in preparing for and managing public health incidents in collaboration with partners, especially local authorities (LA).

The guidance which was first published in 2003 and then revised in 2011 and now in 2017 has taken into account changes in legislation and also been informed by reviewing evidence from previous events such as Outbreak of Legionnaires disease in Lothian in 2012.

MOSSMORRAN FLARING - SEPA INVESTIGATION

On 21 June, NHS Fife convened a meeting with Health Protection Scotland, SEPA and Fife Council to agree an action plan in light of concerns over flaring at Mossmorran.

There have been a considerable number of complaints from the community following prolonged flaring from the complex, which is operated by Shell and Exxon Mobil.

SEPA regulates the environmental aspects of these sites under the Pollution Prevention and Control Regulations, and both Operators hold licences which control conditions relating to flaring.

ALGAL AND SHELLFISH TOXINS WARNING

Monitoring by Environmental Health at Argyll and Bute Council has found raised levels of naturally occurring algal toxins in Loch Melfort and Seil Sound. It means shellfish have toxins levels above the legally permitted levels for harvest and members of the public are asked not to harvest them.

The naturally occurring toxins accumulate in molluscs such as mussels, oysters, cockles and razor clams. When levels breach statutory limits, harvesting of affected species is prohibited.

NEW GUIDE PUBLISHED BY SCOTTISH GOVERNMENT TO IMPROVE CHILDCARE SETTINGS

A new guide to enhance the design of childcare provision across Scotland is now available for local authorities, private and third sector providers.

"Space to Grow - Design guidance for early learning and childcare and out of school care settings” is a result of a lot of hard work by, and positive collaboration between, the Care Inspectorate, Scottish Futures Trust, local authorities and Scottish Government.

JUNK FOOD ADVERTS BANNED ON MEDIA AIMED AT CHILDREN

On the 1 July, new advertising regulations came into force banning adverts for foods that are high in fat, salt or sugar (HFSS) on all children’s media.

The new regulations, announced last December after a consultation, mean that adverts that directly or indirectly promote HFSS products cannot appear in media including websites, social media and paper media aimed at children under 16, or where children under 16 make up at least 25% of the audience.

FAECAL BACTERIA FOUND IN ICE FROM MAJOR COFFEE CHAINS

A BBC Watchdog investigation of iced water from the three major coffee chains Costa, Starbucks and Caffe Nero found faecal coliform bacteria in samples.

An undercover investigation revealed that iced water obtained from high street outlets Caffè Nero, Starbucks and Costa Coffee all contained faecal coliform bacteria, with a positive test found for seven out of 10 samples from Costa and three out of 10 samples from the other two chains. Cleanliness of tables, trays and high chairs at the chains was also tested at 30 branches.

LAUNCH OF EAST LOTHIAN COUNCIL APP

A new App has been launched by East Lothian Council to help residents and visitors find information and report matters requiring environmental health action.

The app which is available to download on mobile phone and other handheld devices can be used to alert the council to issues such as fly-tipping, abandoned vehicles, noise nuisance, food safety, housing conditions or any concerns in relation to public health and the environment.

The decision to develop and implement the app by the East Lothian Council Environmental Health Service had a number of drivers behind it:

CLIMATE CHANGE IS A THREAT TO ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH

Climate change is a threat to environmental health

On the 1 June, Donald Trump confirmed that he would withdraw the US from the Paris Agreement. The aim of this climate change pact is to strengthen the global response to the threat of climate change by keeping a global temperature rise this century well below 2oC above pre-industrial levels. Additionally, the agreement aims to strengthen the ability of countries to deal with the impacts of climate change.

EU GREENHOUSE GAS EMISSIONS FROM TRANSPORT INCREASE FOR THE SECOND YEAR IN A ROW

Total European Union greenhouse gas emissions increased by 0.5 % in 2015, according to new European Environment Agency (EEA) data. Transport was a key reason for that increase: better fuel efficiency in that sector was not enough to counter the effects of an increasing demand for transport.

EUROPEAN CONFERENCE ON ENVIRONMENT AND HEALTH

The 6th Ministerial Conference on Environment and Health is taking place this week in Ostrava, Czechia.

These series of ministerial conferences are held every five years and are coordinated by WHO/Europe. The conferences are unique, bringing together different sectors to shape European policies and actions on environment and health.

The most recent conference took place in Parma, Italy, in 2010, this resulted Parma Declaration. Governments of the 53 European Member States set clear targets to reduce the adverse health impact of environmental threats in the next decade.

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