"Why is the smoking ban not being enforced?"

About: Hairmyres Hospital

(as a relative),

Whilst visiting a relative in ward 20, Hairmyres hospital, access via the only entrance was made difficult by a large group of patients and their visitors standing smoking there, No attempt was made by this group to stop smoking or allow access by myself and a family member to enter the building. We were rebuked for indicating that smoking was not permitted according to the nearby sign. The main entrance to the unit was filled with choking tobacco fumes, which we were forced to inhale as well as leaving the odour on our clothes. My understanding of current legislation is that smoking is not permitted at all within hospital grounds? Why is this not being enforced?

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Response from Rick Edwards, Programme Manager for Person-Centred Care, Patient Affairs, NHS Lanarkshire

picture of Rick Edwards
Dear swpq, I was disappointed to read of your experience when visiting Ward 20 recently. I would like to reassure you that NHS Lanarkshire is committed to smoke free hospital grounds as detailed in our No Smoking Policy. However, enforcement of the policy continues to be challenging as it is not currently supported by legislation. As you pointed out, we have signs positioned throughout the hospital grounds and at all entrances. I’m pleased you noted this and felt able to ask the group to stop or move away and I can only apologise for the response you received. If this should happen again please report it to a member of staff. The Scottish Government have commissioned a TV advertising campaign to be shown in March 2015 to encourage public support for smoke free hospital grounds across Scotland and we hope this may help with local compliance. NHS Lanarkshire is working hard to implement a local action plan that includes: • Rolling out a system to ensure that all patients that smoke have their smoking status assessed on admission to hospital and are managed appropriately either for temporary abstinence whilst in hospital or to support them make a quit attempt. • Offering referral to the NHS Lanarkshire Stop Smoking Service which provides behavioural support in conjunction with treatment for nicotine withdrawal in hospital and in the community once discharged. • Regular press releases to raise awareness of the policy with the public. • Employment of a dedicated smoking cessation mental health nurse specialist. • Training of link staff for smoking cessation on each Acute Mental Health ward to co-facilitate cessation groups with the specialist nurse. • Provision of tobacco awareness sessions to mental health inpatients twice weekly which include raising awareness of the no smoking policy and the support available to patients whilst in hospital and upon discharge. • Development of proposals in partnership with Lanarkshire Links (third sector mental health user and carer organisation) to promote and support the smoke free grounds message. The entrance to Ward 20 has been identified as a priority area for development. We recognise this change in behaviour will take time to feed through to all patients and the wider public, but we believe that with time and our continued efforts we will be able to achieve this. If you or someone you know would like support to give up smoking, NHS Lanarkshire Stop Smoking Service is free, friendly and has helped over 17,000 people quit during 2011-2014. For more, call 0300 303 0242 (Mon-Fri 9am to 5pm) or text: ‘Advice’ to 81066 you can also visit www.nhslanarkshire.org.uk or www.canstopsmoking.com call Smokeline on 0800 84 84 84 (8am-10pm 7 days) or visit any Lanarkshire pharmacy. Kind regardsTake it right outside
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