Black Country health workers banned from taking smoking breaks
Smoking has been completely banned at a string of medical sites across the Black Country.
The Black Country Partnership Foundation Trust (BCPFT), which boasts a workforce of more than 2,000, has now become 'smoke free'.
It means that staff, patients and visitors will no longer be able to smoke at any of its sites, car parks, buildings or wards.
Deputy Director of Nursing Judy McDonald at the trust said: “Our smokefree journey has evolved over the past year, and we are proud that the various strategies we have implemented are now coming to fruition.
"We believe becoming a smokefree environment is an important part of our continuous quality improvement journey, and aim to take a supportive approach to achieve our overall aim of supporting our patients and staff to make healthier life style choices.
"We continue to offer training to staff to ensure they are equipped to support each other, and patients, to stop smoking and indeed anyone who wishes to stop smoking can receive support from Health Exchange.”
The smoking ban came into effect on New Year's Day to help 'advance towards a healthier and cleaner trust'.
Management have been working with staff and patients in the run up to the trust-wide ban, which involved introducing new policies.
Significant changes included smoking cessation training for staff, removal of smoke specific breaks and new signage.
Job adverts containing a statement that employees must adhere to the new smokefree policy have also been issued.
The new prohibition will ensure staff, patients and visitors will not be exposed to the harmful effects of smoking, the trust said.
The trust added: "BCPFT has a duty of care to support others in achieving a healthy lifestyle, and provide a close relationship of care, confidence and communication to those facing the challenges of quitting smoking and exposure to second-hand smoke.
"It is shocking that people with mental health conditions die on average 10 to 20 years earlier than the rest of our population and smoking is the largest single cause of this gap."
The trust provides mental health, learning disability and community healthcare services for residents of all ages.
Staff work across Dudley, Sandwell, Walsall and Wolverhampton including within schools, hospitals, GP surgeries, community centres and homes.