Dy­ing for a smoke on NHS grounds

The pub­lic have their say over the puff­ing prob­lem

Ayrshire Post - - FRONT PAGE - Lochlin Highet

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

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