Where there’s smoke, there’s ire

Western Suburbs Weekly - - Near You - By EMILY BAKER

PHILL Mon­crieff wants fur­ther ac­tion taken to stamp out “ram­pant” and “un­con­tained” smok­ing at Royal Perth Hos­pi­tal (RPH).

Mr Mon­crieff, a for­mer pa­tient who works near RPH, said the bla­tant smok­ing by staff, pa­tients and public that he cap­tured on cam­era had been on­go­ing for many years.

While RPH main­tain it has taken prac­ti­cal mea­sures to con­trol smok­ing on the hos­pi­tal site, Mr Mon­crieff said it had not ad­e­quately ad­dressed the prob­lem.

“I’ve writ­ten a num­ber of emails and re­peated com­plaints to RPH say­ing that this is not on; I know a lot of peo­ple are dis­com­forted by it,” Mr Mon­crieff said.

“Their (RPH) line of de­fence is that it is too hard gov­ern and that they just don’t have the ju­ris­dic­tion to en­force a smok­ing ban.

“But I just don’t be­lieve that. How can non smok­ing ar­eas be en­forced around cafes but not a hos­pi­tal?”

RPH act­ing ex­ec­u­tive direc­tor Aresh An­war said the hos­pi­tal had im­ple­mented ‘no-smok­ing’ sig­nage at fre­quently ac­cessed ar­eas and ver­bal re­quests to peo­ple smok­ing on hos­pi­tal grounds.

“Pa­tients are as­sessed for nico­tine de­pen­dence and of­fered sup­port to man­age their nico­tine crav­ings whilst in hos­pi­tal,” Dr An­war said.

“Un­der the Smoke Free WA Health Sys­tem Pol­icy, nico­tine re­place­ment ther­apy is pro­vided to in-pa­tients free of charge.”

How­ever, WA Health’s smoke free op­er­a­tional di­rec­tive and the Smoke Free WA Health Sys­tem Pol­icy does not ap­ply to public ar­eas or foot­paths sur­round­ing RPH, in­clud­ing Vic­to­ria Square owned by the City of Perth.

Lord Mayor Lisa Scaf­fidi said the City of Perth was will­ing to work with stake­hold­ers to curb the is­sue.

“It is ac­knowl­edged that Royal Perth Hos­pi­tal is owned by the State Gov­ern­ment and along with other hos­pi­tals, the so­lu­tion may lie in reg­u­la­tions, for which the state is re­spon­si­ble,” Ms Scaf­fidi said.

Mr Mon­crieff said he hoped his plight would bring an end to the in­tol­er­a­ble prob­lem.

“This is a ma­jor public con­cern and I hope they don’t keep pass­ing the buck on this is­sue.”

Peo­ple smok­ing out­side Royal Perth Hos­pi­tal.

Pic­tures: Phill Mon­crieff

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