"Smoking outside the main doors"

About: Southmead Hospital / Respiratory medicine

(as a carer),

I read with interest the reply to a complaint about smoking outside the main doors of Southmead Hospital in Bristol. Having had a blood transfusion last week, my husband needed to sit down on the benches outside. We had to wait for the shuttle bus. Suddenly a blue cloud of cigarette smoke engulfed us both. A woman on the next bench was smoking. I suffer from asthma and cigarette smoke is my main trigger. We pointed out the many, many no smoking signs but she replied "Everyone does it". I approached a security guard standing nearby who said" If we have to tell one, we'd be telling people all day". By this time I had used my inhaler 3 times. I had to use it another 3 times on the shuttle bus, and then had an asthma attack outside the car park. We had to return to the hospital 2 days later and there were more people smoking in full sight of the security guards who, by the way, just stand around most of the time. Surely there should be an enforcement officer at the very least?

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Response from Southmead Hospital

Dear Judi – thank you for your comments. Smoking within the hospital grounds has been an issue the Trust has struggled to solve for many years. I am sorry to learn of the effect that someone’s smoke had on you. My wife shares your condition and so I know how distressing the situation you describe can be. I do agree staff should be challenging smokers within the hospital grounds and our new Non-smoking policy encourages them to do this. Regrettably the security staff are not direct employees of the Trust and therefore I am unclear if they have also been asked to challenge smokers. I have passed on your comments to the area managing the security staff contract so they can be aware of the issue and take the appropriate action. Kind Regards – Steve Sykes Advice and Complaints Team

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Update posted by judi (a carer)

Oh well! Words come easy! In opinion policy only on paper is useless. Two visits to Southmead Hospital this week and nothing has changed. Even more security people standing around waving at stray cars and buses but unfortunately the benches were full of smokers so we could not use them while we waited for the shuttle bus. So much for caring for cancer patients, the sick and the elderly!

There were even 2 patients, sitting on a bench in their dressing gowns, smoking whilst being accompanied by a NURSE!!

I really do not think the hospital understands asthma. Are smokers just so much more important..?!