The proposal in the Queen’s Speech to introduce a 5p plastic bag tax to those parts of the UK that don’t already have one seems to have had a mixed press last week.
There will be exemptions for small businesses, but trying to think this morning how I can dispense for some of our patients without using a plastic bag to keep it together has been a bit mind-boggling. Tips from colleagues from Wales would be gratefully received (hint, hint).
But there is an aspect of this I hadn’t thought of, and I’m indebted to Allister Heath’s article in City A.M. last week for raising the subject.
- An American study has shown that reusing plastic bags led to a 25% increase in admissions with food poisoning.
- According to the Food Standards Agency, campylobacter alone is linked to about 460,000 poisoning cases, 22,000 hospital admissions and 110 deaths.
Increasing that by 25% would add over 5000 hospital admissions to the caseload, not to mention a score of potential fatalities.
As if the NHS hadn’t got enough to do…