MP Voices Support for Safe Sunbed Campaign
By Neil Macfarlane
THE former health secretary has thrown his weight behind The Northern Echo?s campaign for a change in the law to stop children from using UV sunbeds.
MP Alan Milburn is to table a question in Parliament asking the Government to ban under-16s from using tanning salons.
Mr Milburn, who served as the Secretary of State for Health from 1999 to 2003, made the call after reading the story of 15-year-old Katie Turner, who was hospitalised with severe burns after a 21- minute sunbed session.
Although Government guidelines advise business owners that no under-16s should be allowed to use solariums, there is no legislation to back it up.
Mr Milburn, MP for Darlington, said: ?I was very concerned to read in The Northern Echo about what happened to Katie Turner, and Ithink it is important that we learn lessons from these incidents so that people are not harmed in this way again. ?
Mr Milburn has tabled two questions, which will be answered by his successor as Health Secretary, Alan Johnson, during a forthcoming session of parliamentary questions.
He is to ask Mr Johnson for a change in the law, as well as a breakdown of NHS statistics showing the number of children and adultswho have been admitted to hospitals with burns sustained on sunbeds.
Darlington teenager Miss Turner was allowed to use the beds at a town tanning salon for 12 minutes, followed by a further nine- minute session later the same day.
Her burns were so serious that she needed to be treated with painkillers and antihistamines at the accident and emergency department of Darlington Memorial Hospital.
The national Sunbed Association issues a code of practice to members not to allow under-16s into their salons under any circumstances, but there is no legal requirement for business owners to follow the advice.
Cancer charities and the British Association for Dermatologists have called for England and Wales to introduce age restrictions in line with the ban recently introduced in Scotland.
Dr Ravi Suchak, dermatologist at Barts and the London NHS Trust, said: ?Our findings indicate that a significant number of schoolchildren use artificial tanning devices.
Moreover, a significant proportion of them are fair skinned and have higher than average exposure to outdoor sunshine.
?Tougher licensing and regulation of tanning salons is overdue. ?
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