Dying for a smoke on NHS grounds
The public have their say over the puffing problem
Cries to address people smoking on hospital grounds are becoming ever- louder.
All hospital grounds went smokefree in March 2015 and since this time smokers have been asked to respect other people’s right to fresh air by leaving the grounds if they wish to smoke.
But it appears at Ayr Hospital these cries are falling on deaf ears.
As seen from the pictures, it is evident that many people are still choosing to light up right outside the hospital doors - where children, elderly and disabled people walk past.
Reader Lorrie Smith got in touch with the Post to highlight the issue.
She said: “I’d like to highlight the ‘ No smoking on hospital grounds’ policy is currently not working, or even being enforced at hospitals within Ayrshire and Arran.
“At least when there were smoking shelters, the mess was kept in one area and not right outside the front doors, as in attached photos recently taken.”
And we took some time to speak to people as they were going in and out of the hospital.
We asked their opinions on people smoking on hospital grounds and there were various reactions.
Brian Wilson, 52, had a very strong view.
He said: “People who smoke on the hospital grounds should be hung.
“I am asthmatic so there is no doubt at all that I disagree with smoking full stop.
“Not only that, but it smells bad and it really is disgusting.”
Lyn Longman, 44, was leaving the hospital with her daughter Grace, 5, and Lyn had mixed feelings.
She said: “I am a non- smoker and I understand why the NHS are so keen to promote the smoke- free zones.
“But then I also see how people would be stressed when they are either a patient or visiting a family member that’s sick.
“Although it’s not great when I need to walk through a cloud of smoke with Grace.”
Emma Leitch, 72, was pretty clear on her views too.
She said: “People smoking in this hospital area should be stopped.
“Especially patients who are making their way back into a hospital environment.
“You really can’t be too careful with all the infections going around these days. Especially with so many children coming into the hospital.”
And finally Sharon Miller, 53, echoed many other’s views.
She said: “I find it inconsiderate that they smoke at the hospital - but I also know they have cravings.
“But they really shouldn’t be doing it at the door as it’s not fair to be leaving non- smokers smelling of smoke as they walk past.”
NHS Ayrshire and Arran are well aware of the issue, and they are looking into how to deal with it.
Elaine Young, Assistant Director for Public Health said: “Increasing numbers of people are continuing to smoke at the doors of our hospitals and this is causing distress for visitors and patients who are being exposed to second- hand smoke.
“We would re- iterate again that our buildings and grounds are smoke- free and ask that those who are visiting our hospitals comply with our policy.”
Ms Young added: “We have tried numerous ways of asking people not to smoke on our grounds.
“I have approached smokers myself and politely asked them to please leave our grounds to finish their cigarette.
“We have clear, large signage on display throughout our hospitals and within the grounds about our policy.
“We are simply asking smokers to please respect other people’s right not to have to breathe in their smoke.”
Ms Young continued: “While it is NHS Ayrshire & Arran policy and currently we are unable to legally enforce our policy, legislation is expected in 2018 which will mean there will be a legally enforceable perimeter around hospital buildings.
“This means that in future, people who smoke within the perimeter of our buildings can and will be fined, similar to smoking in enclosed spaces.
“Until this legislation is available, we will continue to ask people not to smoke on our grounds and we would request all smokers to respect this rather than face a fine in the future.”
Entrance Non smokers have to brave clounds of smoke on their way in the door
Light on Smokers are plaguing the hospitals