BMA Cymru Wales has today welcomed the decision by the Vale of Glamorgan Council to remove the five sunbeds it operates in leisure centres across the county.
Having recently criticised the Vale of Glamorgan Council for dragging its feet over the enforcement of a recommendation to remove the five sunbeds BMA Cymru Wales said it was "delighted" that the Council Executive had finally seen sense and resolved to remove the sunbeds.
Commenting on today's decision BMA Wales Secretary, Dr Richard Lewis said:
We are delighted that the Vale Council has finally recognised the serious health risks posed by sunbeds, and that it is now fulfilling its obligation to protect the health of the people in the Vale by removing them.
The Vale Council was the last Local Authority in South Wales to operate sunbeds.
The Local Authority should never have had sunbeds on its premises. The fact that they made an attractive Â£15,000 annually for the council might go some way to explain the delay in removing them.
Today's decision is extremely welcome. Not only is it important in promoting local public health and well-being, it also helps to spread the message about the dangers of sunbeds and UV exposure. A message which both Flintshire and Wrexham - who are the only local authorities left in Wales still to operate sunbeds in their leisure centres - would do well to listen to.
The BMA will continue to call for these two remaining Local Authorities to remove the sunbeds they run - they should be leading on health protection; operating sunbeds is simply reckless and irresponsible.
Leisure centres should be places of health, recreation and well-being, not places which provide facilities that are so damaging to a persons health. Just one session a month will double the average individual's annual dose of UV radiation and this is proved to greatly increase the risk of cancer, skin and eye problems in later life.
"The view of the BMA has always been that there is no such thing as a safe tan (unless it comes out of a bottle). When a tan fades, the damage to your skin remains. We want to see tighter regulation of the sunbed industry and a ban on coin-operated, unmanned salons. When we give evidence to the National Assembly's Health Committee later this month that's exactly what we'll be calling for."