"Is this a non-smoking site or not?"

About: The James Cook University Hospital

I have had to visit James Cook as an outpatient several times in the last 4 months and I have no complaints about any aspect of my treatment following surgery at the Friarage. I have found both clinical and admin staff to be excellent, but the one thing that strikes me every time I attend the hospital is that even though there are signs as you enter saying 'this is a non-smoking site' and 'no smoking' signs outside the entrances, they are completely ignored and no-one appears to enforce it. As I was leaving the hospital yesterday and approached the south entrance, I could smell the smoke before I reached the revolving door. There is just no point to having these signs if no-one is prepared to tackle the problem and ask people not to smoke.

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Response from The James Cook University Hospital

Good afternoon. Thank you for your feedback regarding the concerns you have expressed about smoking on site at The James Cook University Hospital. I apologise for the delay in responding to you and am genuinely sorry to hear of your experiences. I can fully understand your feelings in relation to this matter. Like yourself and many of our staff, patients and relatives, we are very unhappy with the current position and the impact this has on health and wellbeing. I would like to assure you that the Trust wishes to support the rights of non-smokers not to be exposed to second-hand smoke and is doing everything possible to prevent smoking in the hospital grounds. Whilst the Trust does operate a smoke-free policy, regrettably staff are unable to legally stop people from smoking on the hospital site. Whilst legislation bans smoking in public buildings, the Trust does not have the legal power to ban patients or visitors from smoking on the grounds of the hospital. We do acknowledge however that despite the investment in signs, leaflets, posters, talking smoke detectors at entrances and smoke cessation advisors, we still have huge challenges to eradicate the situation. Led by the Director of Nursing, we have recently reformed a trust wide 'smoke free' group to explore what other options are available to us including: Writing a work plan which will include signage review The potential for more regular walk rounds at entrances to ask people to stop smoking and offer support in terms of smoking cessation. learning from organistations who have had the most success. We are also looking to designate 'family friendly' areas to promote healthy clean environments which will eventually emcompass all entrances to the hospital. Thank you for taking the time and trouble to contact us, as this input is vital to improve our services. Yours sincerely Mrs Karen Harwood Lead Nurse / Patient Relations Manager