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Thursday, 2 July 2009

ARM – day four – rounding off with occupational health, tobacco and alcohol debates

To kick off the last session of the BMA’s 2009 ARM conference, members looked at the topic of occupational health, something which has been a pertinent issue at BMA Cymru Wales recently. We’ve been seeking assurances that the future of the Primary Care Support Service (PCSS), which is the ONLY occupational health service for doctors in primary care, will be secured during the NHS reorganisation agenda.

Next – on to motions on the environment, calling on the BMA to do more to highlight the global health risks associated with climate change and to reduce our own carbon footprint. We then turned to the important public health issues of nutrition, exercise and obesity, an area in which Wales faces considerable challenges if we are to address them, particularly childhood obesity. Motions calling for more local recreational facilities (swimming pools, cycle routes etc) remind me that when I get back I must find out how Dr Dai Lloyd AM’s proposed Measure on playing fields is getting on.

The HPV vaccine sparked a valuable and lively debate with conference deciding that the roll-out of the vaccine should be extended to boys not just girls, and that it has been a missed opportunity to vaccinate against other diseases such as genital warts.

Also a subject with high prevalence rates in Wales: drugs and addiction. The topics covered by this set of motions call for minimum unit pricing for alcohol; clearer labelling; a ban on alcohol advertising in the media and the redirection of revenue into prevention and rehabilitation programmes. These motions passed UNANIMOUSLY.

Tobacco also generated a good discussion with motions proposed for all forms of tobacco advertising to be banned, including at the point of sale and another calling for cigarette vending machines to be restricted.

After four days of rigorous and impassioned debate, conference draws to a close and its time to return to Cardiff. The ARM has set BMA policy and determined many of the issues that we will be working on for the next twelve months.

For anyone who wants to see a full webcast and results of the motions debated this week click here.

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