Hos­pi­tals’ to­tal smok­ing ban

Daily Star - - NEWS - ■ by PAUL DONNELLEY paul.donnelley@dai­lystar.co.uk

THE NHS will ban smok­ing in all hos­pi­tal grounds, in­clud­ing car parks, from April.

It has been an NHS pol­icy to stop any­one smok­ing at hos­pi­tals but, un­til now, around a third of Trusts have not in­tro­duced the rules.

The Gov­ern­ment’s Depart­ment of Health, headed by Matt Hancock, has even pledged to make the coun­try “smoke-free” by 2030.

Min­is­ters have said no­body should have to “walk past a cloud of smoke in or­der to en­ter or leave their lo­cal hos­pi­tal”.

The ban does not ap­ply to va­p­ing. Pub­lic Health Eng­land says ev­ery smoker who wants to give up – in­clud­ing preg­nant women – should be en­cour­aged to take up e-cig­a­rettes.

Of­fi­cials also want hos­pi­tals to re­place smok­ing shel­ters with va­p­ing lounges.

Mean­while, Nor­wich’s NHS hos­pi­tal has been so over­whelmed with pa­tients that staff is­sued a memo telling medics to make “the least un­safe de­ci­sion” when treat­ing pa­tients.

The hos­pi­tal had no free beds, A&E was full and there were 35 peo­ple wait­ing on trol­leys for ad­mis­sion to wards.

Dr Sue Cross­land, the pres­i­dent of the So­ci­ety for Acute Medicine, said the mes­sage was wor­ry­ing.

She added: “We would al­ways sup­port our mem­bers to make safe de­ci­sions, de­spite the pres­sures we face from all sides.

“We ac­knowl­edge the dire sit­u­a­tion but we must al­ways make safe de­ci­sions and give our pa­tients the best care pos­si­ble.

“Pa­tients and their fam­i­lies de­serve to know that trusts are pro­vid­ing the best and safest care.”

THE NHS will ban smok­ing in all hos­pi­tal grounds. Car parks will be in­cluded too un­der the new rules. Good. It’s a sen­si­ble de­ci­sion. And it’s long over­due. Al­though cur­rent poli­cies say it should be pro­hib­ited, it hasn’t been in­tro­duced ev­ery­where. But the to­tal ban from next April means all hos­pi­tals will have to com­ply. The sight of peo­ple smok­ing in the grounds al­ways seems self-de­feat­ing. It clearly isn’t the place for it. Forc­ing peo­ple to walk past clouds of smoke to en­ter or leave the build­ing sim­ply isn’t right. Es­pe­cially not if they’re ill. But this will stop that.

It’s a vic­tory for com­mon sense.

BOSS: Matt Hancock

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