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Breaking the habit? Some hospitals yet to ban smoking on site

By Annabal Bagdi | Health | Published:

Hospital trusts across the region are still allowing smoking on their premises despite health chiefs calling for a total ban.

Breaking the habit - some are hospitals yet to ban smoking on site

Just two medical trusts across the Black Country, Staffordshire and Shropshire are "truly smokefree" and ban smokers from lighting up while on site.

Staff at other hospital trusts have claimed they are working towards a complete ban on smoking and removing smoking shelters.

Public Health England's chief executive Duncan Selbie said: "One in four hospital beds are occupied by a smoker and most of them want to quit.

"Many patients or visitors will be going through difficult times but smoking remains England's biggest preventable killer and it is time for the NHS to stop smoking within its hospital grounds, everywhere.

"It cannot be right that it is more acceptable in some hospitals to smoke at the front door than it is outside a pub."

Both the Black Country Partnership NHS Foundation Trust and the Midlands Partnership NHS Foundation Trust ban smoking on its premises, with smokers urged to leave the site if they want to smoke.

Smoking policies are in place allowing smoking in designated outdoor areas at The Royal Wolverhampton NHS Trust and University Hospitals of North Midlands.

A total ban on smoking is in the pipeline at Sandwell and West Birmingham Hospitals NHS Trust, which will go smoke-free this July.

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Staff at Walsall Healthcare NHS Trust are in the midst of preparing to become smoke-free in the new year, while a total ban on smoking will be in place at Sandwell and West Birmingham Hospitals NHS Trust from next month.

Sandwell and West Birmingham Hospitals NHS Trust will ban smoking across its sites, including in cars if parked on site - with £50 fines dished out to visitors and disciplinary action for staff if caught.

Respiratory consultant Dr Arvind Rajasekaran said: “Lung cancer is the largest cause of cancer-related deaths in the UK and lung cancer is principally caused by smoking cigarettes.

"The decision to go smoke free will be part of a wider action to increase awareness of the harmful effects of smoking and also our efforts to help people to give us this habit.”

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A survey by Public Health England of NHS acute hospital trusts in England 31 per cent still allow smoking in their hospital grounds.

It is not illegal to smoke in hospital grounds in England but it is banned in Northern Ireland and Scotland, with a legal ban set to be introduced in Wales this year.

In 2013, the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence said NHS hospitals in England should ban smoking on their premises and staff should be told not to help patients who want to smoke.

Mr Selbie also wrote to the chief executive of every NHS Trust in England calling for their commitment to work towards a "truly smokefree NHS" in November 2016.

The NHS Five Year Forward View included a commitment for all trusts to have fully smokefree sites by spring 2020.

Annabal Bagdi

By Annabal Bagdi
@AnnabalB_Star

Senior reporter based at head office in Wolverhampton. Get in touch on 01902 319 229 or at annabal.bagdi@expressandstar.co.uk

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