"Tea Shop Closure In Psychiatric Unit"

About: North Staffordshire Combined Healthcare NHS Trust / Inpatient mental health care

(as other),

A teashop, used by patients and visitors was recently closed because it's turnover has reduced, making it no longer viable.

I believe one of the main reasons for the drop in turnover was the fact that cigarrette sales had been banned.

There was a small patio type of area accessible from the shop.

Now, we all know that smoking is bad for you, but in a mental health setting, where distress levels can by dangerously high, for patients to have to go outside the hospital (that is if they are allowed to) and to rely on visitors to bring them in, or to have to "cadge" them from visitors or patients (if they have visitors) seems rather inhuman and indeed degrading for those who may need a smoke more when in the unit than at any other time in their lives.

Isn't it about time that this issue was re-visited by all concerned from the department of Health downwards?

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Response from North Staffordshire Combined Healthcare NHS Trust

Dear Potter

In November 2004 the government announced that the NHS would be required to go smoke free by 2006, making it an offence to smoke in an enclosed work or public place.

Harplands Hospital have a Smoke Free Policy which meets these requirements whilst also being able to facilitate smoking for in-patients only in designated smoking shelters located in ward garden areas.

All patients are given appropriate information regarding the smoking policy on admission.

The Harplands Café had previously sold cigarettes to patients however in line with the Trust policy the move to non sale of tobacco products in the on site café was fully implemented in October 2009.

Unfortunately the ‘footfall’ within the café has reduced considerably since then which has resulted in the café running at a considerable loss and therefore forced its closure

Whilst the decision not to sell tobacco products will not be reversed the Trust has every intention of re-opening the café in the very near future to again provide a facility for patients outside of the ward areas. Work is ongoing to look at alternative services that we can make available within the café.

Update posted by Potter (other)

An article in the telegraph says: There are few more stressful experiences than a stay in hospital, and it is not an easy time to give up.

So let the patients puff away in their shelters reflecting perhaps, that if they had kicked the habit earlier they might not be there in the first place