Chesterfield Royal Hospital is to become a completely smoke-free site from July.
The decision to ban smoking (cigarettes and e-cigarettes) at the hospital, including in all its grounds and gardens, has been taken after discussions with staff, governors, patients and visitors.
Over the next 100 days, the countdown to the July 25 ‘go-live’ date will see website promotions, advertising and information handed out to patients and visitors to explain what’s happening, why and what help is available to give up smoking for good.
It is part of the hospital trust’s re-launch of a pledge to keep the green field site clearer, cleaner and healthier.
There will also be new signage installed on site and the Royal will be publicising its intentions under a ‘Proud to be SMOKEFREE’ theme.
The hospital trust has spent 12 months asking staff, governors, patients and visitors for their experiences and views of smoking on site with main entrances, bus shelters and courtyard gardens highlighted as particular problem areas.
An online survey also found that 60 per cent of 2,000 respondents felt the trust should do more to ask people not to smoke.
The same number advocated the use of nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) for patients on wards. Patients in pyjamas and sitting in wheelchairs smoking in the grounds and gardens noted as ‘a real concern’.
Medical Director Dr Gail Collins said: “Smoking-related diseases are responsible for more than half a million hospital admissions every year.
“We believe we have a responsibility to help people to give up smoking as part of their hospital care and treatment.
“And we should make sure that people coming to hospital for treatment do not have to experience passive smoking as they arrive and leave.
“People responding to our survey said this was what they hated most about smoking on site, with the birth centre entrance, emergency department and the main entrance at the top of the list.”
And the trust said that although they understand many patients and visitors may want to smoke because of the anxiety and stress often associated with hospital care, treatments and visits, the board chose not to install smoking shelters.
“We thought long and hard about this,” said Dr David Pickworth, a non-executive director on the Royal’s board and a local GP in Matlock.
“We visited hospitals with smoking shelters and found they were of limited success, smelly and dirty - and people wouldn’t walk to use them.
“The trust feels investing thousands of pounds in shelters to effectively support people to smoke is not standing up for what we believe in.
“That money would be better spent helping people to quit smoking for good to help them become healthier.”
More than 900 staff at the hospital contributed to the survey - with half saying they either already ask people not to smoke on site, or would do so if they had some training and support.
Dr Collins added: “We have taken up an idea other hospitals use to help with this.
“Staff will be able to give out business cards that explain the site is smoke free and where people can go to get help to quit smoking.
“We want all our staff to feel they can support what we are trying to achieve and we will help them to feel confident about speaking to people they see smoking at the hospital.”
The trust first launched its smoke-free approach in 2006 and this re-launch will aim to increase the number of patients being offered NRT as part of their hospital stay – as well as deterring people from lighting up during their visit.
Staff are already subject to a no-smoking policy and are subject to disciplinary action if they are found to be smoking on site.
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