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Staff to be banned from smoking at Worcestershire hospitals
5:05pm Wednesday 27th November 2013 in News
STAFF at hospitals in Worcestershire will be banned from smoking anywhere on site under measures approved today.
Worcestershire Acute Hospitals’ NHS Trust backed the idea which will see patients and visitors still allowed to light up for the time being but only in existing smoking shelters which will be moved further away from hospital buildings.
The decision, which will also ban contractors and volunteers from smoking as well as staff, will come into effect next year and comes on the same day the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) urged the NHS to ban smoking on all hospital grounds in England.
The Acute Trust says its plan will support its “prevention message “ to patients as staff will now be treated by staff not smelling of smoke.
It aims to be completely smoke-free by 2015.
A leading councillor has since challenged Worcestershire County Council to follow suit at its County Hall headquarters.
“We (the county council) are now responsible for public health,” said Coun Andy Roberts, chair of the authority’s Health Overview and Scrutiny Committee.
“Now that the hospital has taken this initiative I think the county council should look at itself.”
The move covers three sites; Worcestershire Royal Hospital in Worcester, the Alexandra Hospital in Redditch and the Kidderminster Hospital & Treatment Centre.
The review was called in light of calls by the Smoke Free Worcestershire Alliance, plus complaints by patients and staff about people smoking near and around the hospitals.
The smoking shelters for patients and visitors will now be moved further away from hospital entrances. They are currently 15 metres from buildings.
Extra signs reminding visitors to use the smoking shelters will be put up.
The board was presented with four options. The others included continuing existing arrangements with staff allowed to light up, putting smoking shelters further away but continuing to allow staff to smoke, and making hospital sites completely smoke-free immediately for everyone.
Dr David Tibbutt, a member of the Smoke Free Worcestershire Alliance, said: “It’s a no-brainer.
“A nurse who comes in smelling of cigarettes is unpleasant at best and offensive at worst.
“It gives all the wrong messages.”
Bev Edgar, Director of Human Resources and Organisational Development with the NHS Trust, said: “As a major provider of healthcare it makes health sense that we take the lead in many aspects of prevention and health promotion.”
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