"Smoking on NHS grounds"

About: Monklands District General Hospital

(as the patient),

I have visited Monklands hospital on numerous occasions for the the past three years and I am sick and tired of literally having to fight my way through people smoking in the hospital entrance if they are not stood in the doorway they are stood to the side under the NO SMOKING sign! ! How does this constant practice take place on a NHS non smoking site? In all my visits I have never witnessed anybody being told to stop smoking this cannot be right! ! !

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Response from Melanie MacLean, Patient Affairs Manager, Patient Affairs, NHS Lanarkshire

picture of Melanie MacLean

Dear breathoffreshair,

Thank you for taking the time to post your Patient Opinion regarding smoking on hospital grounds. I would like to reassure you that we view smoking on hospital grounds very seriously and would like to share with you the actions that are currently in progress to help strengthen our position in this regard.

NHS Lanarkshire introduced a policy which banned smoking on all hospital grounds and vehicles in 2008. The policy was implemented in an attempt to build upon the good work of the national smoking ban in public places in 2006, improve health by encouraging smokers to stop and reduce exposure to second-hand smoke.

While many smokers respect the policy, to our frustration others do not and persist in smoking on hospital grounds, particularly outside the entrances despite the inconvenience this causes the majority of others. A considerable effort has been made consulting staff, patients, visitors and the general public to assess levels of support for smoke free hospital grounds and this has shown overwhelming support in favour of this.

Given these findings, we have been reviewing the activities and actions we have in place in order to strengthen compliance with the no-smoking policy. This is also in line with the Scottish Government’s Tobacco Control Strategy for Scotland which tasked NHS Health Boards to become completely smoke free on hospital grounds by March 2015. This has helped to inform a revised no-smoking policy which was launched by the NHS Lanarkshire Board in August 2014.

To assist compliance with the revised policy, we have taken forward a number of actions including:

• Rolling out a system to ensure that all patients that smoke have their smoking status assessed on admission and managed appropriately either for temporary abstinence or total cessation.

• Offering smoking cessation support through the NHS Lanarkshire Stop Smoking Service which offers advice and support in conjunction with free nicotine replacement therapy and varenicline (medication used for smoking cessation) from trained nurse advisors.

• Brief intervention training for staff, providing them with the basic knowledge and skills necessary to deliver opportunistic advice to smokers and how to refer smokers to the smoking cessation support services.

• Discussions with our Local Authority partners to identify any additional enforcement activity that can be taken forward by Environmental Control.

To promote the revised no smoking policy we also have a communication plan which aims to:

• Raise awareness among staff, patients, visitors and the wider public of the revised policy

• Increase public support for the policy.

• Remind smokers that there are support services to help them stop.

I hope that this information is helpful to you and demonstrates our commitment to smoke free hospital grounds and the activities that are ongoing to implement and enforce the revised no-smoking policy, and I would again like to thank you for posting your Patient Opinion.

Kind regards

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