Patients and visitors at Doncaster and Bassetlaw Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust can no longer smoke at any of its three main hospital sites and will be challenged by hospital staff and its security team.
“For the first time we will see a cultural shift in the hospital‘s role in proactively supporting patients to quit smoking”
The trust has said people will no longer be permitted to smoke “within any area” of Doncaster Royal Infirmary, Bassetlaw Hospital and Montagu Hospital grounds.
In the wake of this move, it said all smokers admitted as patients would be advised that the site was smoke free and will be offered nicotine replacement therapy and referred to local stop smoking services as part of their hospital care.
Acting deputy director of nursing, midwifery and allied health professionals at the trust, Cindy Storer, said: “We’re asking for support from the public, our patients and staff as we go smoke free.
“We know that smoking is the single greatest cause of preventable death, disability and illness, and it is therefore appropriate that we keep the hospital site smoke free and ask people not to smoke on site,” she said.
“One in two smokers die prematurely due to their smoking and whilst they are in hospital we have support to help them to break their addiction,” she added.
“This is more than just having a smoke free site,” said Ms Storer. “For the first time we will see a cultural shift in the hospital‘s role in proactively supporting patients to quit smoking.”
According to Ms Storer, its research shows that up to 25% of the trust’s patients smoke and expect health professionals to raise the issue with them.
“It cannot be right that it is more acceptable in some hospitals to smoke at the front door than it is outside a pub”
“Supporting them with nicotine replacement medication means they are much more likely to quit for good,” she said. “At Bassetlaw, we also offer specialist stop smoking support at their bedside, which can make a real difference.’’
Marking World Health Organisations (WHO) No Tobacco Day, the news also coincides with a call from PHE to ban smoking at all NHS trusts.
A recent survey carried out by PHE found that trusts are making “steady progress” in becoming smokefree and noted that smoking is now banned completely at more than two thirds of NHS acute trust grounds.
The government body highlighted examples of how trusts are successfully implementing policies for a smoking ban. This included leadership policies, smokefree steering or working groups and investing in dedicated staff to deliver stop smoking support to inpatients.
The PHE survey found some trusts reported that implementing policies on e-cigarette use and allowing vaping in designated areas had helped them to achieve smokefree status.
Though despite the progress highlighted, PHE warned that almost a third have still not enforced a total smoking ban across hospital premises.
PHE chief executive Duncan Selbie said: “One in four hospital beds are occupied by a smoker, and most of them want to quit. 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,” he added.
Public health minister, Seema Kennedy, said: “No one should have to walk past a cloud of smoke in order to enter or leave their local hospital – we must lead by example, and I am determined to see a smoke-free NHS by 2020.
“Smoking is still one of the biggest causes of death in this country, and through our NHS Long Term Plan, every smoker admitted to hospital will now be offered targeted NHS support to quit,” she said.
“I am encouraged by this new survey, which shows great strides have already been made towards a smoke free NHS – I strongly urge all trusts to follow suit,” she added.