"Problem with smokers at Endoscopy unit entrance"

About: Hairmyres Hospital / General Surgery

(as the patient),

My treatment at the hospital was faultless. Everything the nurses and doctors did was professional and I can’t thank them enough.

However, there is one major problem which I raised with the staff that I saw. As I entered the hospital and followed the directions to the clinic I went down a long corridor. As I went along this corridor the smell of smoke became stronger to the extent that I began to feel quite queasy, particularly as I had been fasting in anticipation of my treatment. I discovered the smell was due to people smoking just by an entrance to the Endoscopy unit, when I mentioned it I was told any approaches to the smokers resulted in abuse.

Each time this door opened the smell of the smoke was drawn in – It cannot be right for the staff or the patients to be in that atmosphere. I felt so bad I had to move to the seat furthest away from the door.

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Response from Susan Friel, Chief of Nursing Services, Hairmyres Hospital, NHS Lanarkshire

picture of Susan Friel

Dear Just834

I was disappointed to read of your experience when attending our endoscopy unit recently.

I would like to reassure you that NHS Lanarkshire is committed to smoke free hospital grounds as detailed in our No Smoking Policy. However, enforcement of the policy continues to be challenging as it is not currently supported by legislation; although we can (and do) ensure that staff comply with this policy.

We have signs positioned throughout the hospital grounds and at all entrances. I can only apologise that you were made to feel queasy due to people smoking at this entrance.

You will be interested to know that the Scottish Government have commissioned a TV advertising campaign to be shown in March 2015 to encourage public support for smoke free hospital grounds across Scotland and we hope this may help with local compliance.

NHS Lanarkshire is also working hard to implement a local action plan that includes:

• Rolling out a system to ensure that all patients that smoke have their smoking status assessed on admission to hospital and are managed appropriately either for temporary abstinence whilst in hospital or to support them make a quit attempt.

• Offering referral to the NHS Lanarkshire Stop Smoking Service which provides behavioural support in conjunction with treatment for nicotine withdrawal in hospital and in the community once discharged.

• Regular press releases to raise awareness of the policy with the public.

• Employment of a dedicated smoking cessation mental health nurse specialist.

• Training of link staff for smoking cessation on each Acute Mental Health ward to co-facilitate cessation groups with the specialist nurse.

• Provision of tobacco awareness sessions to mental health inpatients twice weekly which include raising awareness of the no smoking policy and the support available to patients whilst in hospital and upon discharge.

• Development of proposals in partnership with Lanarkshire Links (third sector mental health user and carer organisation) to promote and support the smoke free grounds message. The entrance to Ward 20 has been identified as a priority area for development.

We recognise this change in behaviour will take time to feed through to all patients and the wider public, but we believe that with time and our continued efforts we will be able to achieve this.

If you or someone you know would like support to give up smoking, NHS Lanarkshire Stop Smoking Service is free, friendly and has helped over 17,000 people quit during 2011-2014.

For more, call 0300 303 0242 (Mon-Fri 9am to 5pm) or text: ‘Advice’ to 81066 you can also visit www.nhslanarkshire.org.uk or www.canstopsmoking.com call Smokeline on 0800 84 84 84 (8am-10pm 7 days) or visit any Lanarkshire pharmacy.

I hope that this is helpful to you, and I appreciate you taking the time to share your experience with us.

Kind Regards


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