Why Do We Not Have a Government ‘Safety Department?

Politicians are so odd. Many years ago, the Government of the day inflicted ‘Health and Safety’ upon the population of the UK. It never seems to have occurred to them that, without considerable care and attention, H & S would become a serious economic and social pain in the butt.

Lumping ‘Health’ and ‘Safety’ together has created just the right atmosphere for massive increases in bureaucracy generally, and especially in the NHS.

Let us consider the NHS for a moment. Or rather, the ‘Health Industry’ (which knocks on to the NHS). Let us suppose that, when ‘Health and Safety’ was dreamed up, the Minister of the day who was in charge had said, “Erm…. No. We already have ‘health’ so let’s concentrate on ‘safety’. In that case, a Safety Dept could have been created and encompassed not only work practices but also food standards, etc. Of course, there would not always been clear lines between what is a matter of health and what is a matter of safety, but that is not important. What is important is that the Health Dept would be able to concentrate on its job – curing sick and injured people.

In my scenario, Smoking would not be a health matter, even though it may, indirectly, be the cause of illnesses. If smoking is dangerous, then it would be the responsibility of the Safety Dept to decide what to do. Smoking bans would emanate from there, if at all. Why would that matter? The reason is that the health aspect would come as assessments of the health effects of smoking. The people deciding on Safety Measures would not automatically be health professionals. Further, the health claims about smoking (especially SHS and third hand smoke) would receive a damned sight more careful consideration.

We might also consider ‘Public Health England’ and ask what its purpose is. At the moment, I do not see that it has any specific purpose. Is it in charge of food impurity dangers? Manufacturing plant dangers? Drinking alcohol dangers? Poisoning dangers? Water supply dangers? If it is in charge of smoking dangers, why is it not in charge of the things that I have mentioned? What in heavens name is PHE for? It seems to me to be no more than another vehicle for Zealots of all sorts to infiltrate and distort.

But one of the chief benefits of such a Government Dept would be that of relieving the NHS of costly, time consuming and unproductive anti-lifestyle programmes. It would be the Safety Dept which would be producing plans to introduce such things as minimum pricing of alcohol. I would bet a pound to a penny that effects such as ‘regressiveness’ (overtaxing the poorest people) would receive a lot more attention.

One could imagine the Sec of State for Health having a private conversation over a couple of pints with the PM. Mr Sec says to Mr PM, “I say, old chap, you know, all this blather about fags and booze and grub is expanding the health dept far too much. It is bad enough keeping these doctors at bay without having to take on the academics as well. Poor Alison is always crying. Let’s move all that junk out of the Health dept jurisdiction. Let’s move the ‘non-communicable diseases’ crap to the Home Office or the Defence Dept or something. Do you know, it would save a fortune in the Health Dept and the NHS”

“Umm….”, says the PM. “But would that not simply move the problem elsewhere with the same costs?” “No!”, says the Sec, “Things like smoking, drinking and eating effects are small beer. They can go to the back of the queue! All this talk about ‘epidemics’ of this, that and the other can be ridiculed really easily. We could say that life expectancy has never been so high. We could say that the number of obese people has been vastly exaggerated by including people who are a bit plump. We could say that infant mortality has never been so low. The problem has been that these Academics have been able to get at the Health Dept. Why don’t you create a “Safety Dept’? You could give it a posh name”

“Umm…..”, says the PM. “I’ll have to think about it and get some advice”

“Right”, says the Sec, “But for God’s sake, DON’T ask for advice from academics or doctors”


Now comes the dream.

Three months later, the PM addresses the House of Commons. “The Government”, he says, “has decided to introduce a new department in England. The Scottish Parliament might consider doing the same thing. ‘Public Health England’ is to be abolished, and its duties incorporated into a new Government Dept to be known as “The Department of Public Safety”. Specific Agencies have yet to be decided. Duties concerning the safety of food, manufacturing practices, alcohol, tobacco, e-cigarettes, etc, will henceforth come within the remit of this dept. The Dept of Health will retain responsibility regarding communicable diseases, but non-communicable disease will come under the remit of the new dept.

We have estimated that more than a billion pounds of public money will be saved due to more effective control of research and risk calculations. Further, the burden of over-regulation on industry and society will be significantly reduced.

Further still, may I take this opportunity to say that, as a consequence of this decision, the UK will no longer be a party to the FCTC, since our governmental structure no longer recognises the WHO’s involvement in the safety of our people”




2 Responses to “Why Do We Not Have a Government ‘Safety Department?”

  1. J Brown Says:

    Is it not the ‘safety’ department that has insisted all cigarette wrappers now be ‘fire safe’? At the expense of ‘health’ they have now added some type of glue (presumably then inhaled when heated) to save the few thousand people world wide that fall asleep each year while smoking. I do not know if any research has been done on the effect of inhaling the fumes from this glue, although anecdotally, people are advising a reaction to it. It is good to know that the ‘safety’ portion of health and safety is looking after us…..:)

    • junican Says:

      As far as I know, there is no ‘Safety Dept’ in the EU. It was the EU ‘Health Gang’ which imposed the RIP provisions (no doubt they had a good giggle at the connection between RIP meaning “Reduced Ignition Propensity” and “Rest in Peace”).
      The whole thing is just another example of misuse of assumed powers.

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