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Smoking in public places is to be a key issue in the next few months for the Scottish health and community care committee.

But it will not examine either the private finance initiative, which was a controversial issue during the Scottish election campaign, or drugs. The committee, which set its agenda last week, said those were cross-committee issues.

It is to establish sub-committees to tackle particular issues such as smoking and community care.

The committee is also to arrange an informal briefing on the Arbuthnott report, which has recommended a needs-based allocation of health resources which would lead to Glasgow and rural areas gaining at the expense of the Lothian and Aberdeen areas.

Other areas to be tackled by the committee include hospital discharge, mental health and long-term care in the light of the Royal Commission report. It will also look at the Incapable Adults Bill, which proposes new rights for patients and their relatives.

But the committee rejected a plea from member Dr Richard Simpson that a possible winter beds crisis should be a priority.

'There are hospitals already closed to emergency admissions. I'm not going to name them, but they are there and if they are facing problems in September, what will it be like in winter?' he asked.