Stubbing out smoking by doorways
As you may know, Essex Rivers' hospitals are no smoking zones following the Government's White Paper, Choosing health: making healthy choices easier, which announced that the NHS would be smokefree by the end of 2006.
Smoking is not allowed by anyone in any hospital building or the grounds except at the designated external smoking points.
Chief Executive Peter Murphy says: "We care very much for the well-being of our patients and staff. Smoking is the biggest avoidable cause of premature death and the NHS must lead by example."
Director of Facilities, Planning & Development David Hewitt says: "Smoking just outside the hospital entrances to buildings can give a very poor impression, as well as a cloud of smoke for patients, staff and visitors to walk through. Resources spent on clearing smoking litter can be much better spent elsewhere.
"Early in 2007 we finished the improvements to the designated external smoking points around the hospital and these are the only locations where smokers (whether they are our own staff, visitors or patients) are allowed to smoke, regardless of the weather."
If smoking is allowed at entrances and outside buildings, the smoke will drift in through doors and windows thereby continuing to be a health hazard.
In addition, patients dislike the smell of cigarette smoke on staff if employee smoking is allowed onsite, and this can weaken patients' attempts to stop as well as undermining the smoking policy.
David added: "Should staff members see anyone, whether it be colleagues, patients or the public, smoking other than at the designated external smoking points they should politely ask them to move. If a member of the public refuses staff will report it to security.
"One of the most important things is that we cannot become smoke-free without people's individual help."
From July 2007 smoking in any enclosed public space in England will be illegal so this is the year to give up, and the NHS can help with this.
Get more help:
For Staff wanting to stop smoking at work
- A free counselling service for staff who smoke is in place via the Trust's own Occupational Health department who have specialist advisers offering free support and help for staff. Call freephone 0800 731 2656 for appointments/ information
For any smoker
- There is access for staff, patients and visitors to the Colchester and Tendring NHS Stop Smoking Service. Tel: 01206 545134
- NHS Smoking Helpline 7am to 11pm. Freephone: 0800 169 0 169 Website: www.givingupsmoking.co.uk