"Smoking outside main doors"

About: Crosshouse Hospital

(as the patient),

Had cause to visit audiology. Had to hold breath to get past four smokers sitting next to 'please dkn't smoke in our grounds' sign next to main entrance. On leaving there were six people smoking near main doors. Spoke to Security, who although apologetic, said it wasn't worth asking people to move as all they would get is abuse and they get no back up from above. I am sick of dodging smokers in a so called no smoking area. If I can smell it I am breathing it in and we all know the dangers of secondary cigarette smoke. Either take the signs down and admit you do nothing about smokers or give Security the back up they need to enforce it. If you can fine people for ignoring parking rules, fine them for ignoring smoking rules. Either way DO SOMETHING,

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Responses

Response from Eunice Goodwin, Patient Feedback Manager for NHS Ayrshire and Arran, Quality Improvement and Governance Team, NHS Ayrshire and Arran

picture of Eunice Goodwin

Dear again,

I do so agree that this is both frustrating and annoying.

I think there are two aspects to the front door issue; inpatient's and visitors. I think these need to be addressed in different ways. In an ideal world, people would just do what is asked and refrain from smoking. while I am not a smoker and I am grateful that this has never been a habit of mine. I can appreciate that inpatients who smoke can feel the need for smoking at a time they are possibly feeling at their most vulnerable, stressed and anxious. We have had some discussions around how we can help this situation but it is premature to outline these at the moment. In fact, there is a meeting to discuss this very thing this afternoon. While I realise this may seem like 'more talking' but there are a few things we need to take into account. when we can confirm the plan, I will come back to this forum and let you know.

Meantime, if anyone has additional, possible options, please feel free to contact me and I can put them forward.

Thank you for highlighting this again for us,

Best wishes,

Eunice

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Update posted by again (the patient)

How about a clearly signed, enclosed smoking area for in-patients at the back of the hospital? That way the rest of us are free to come and go through the main entrances,without breathing the smoke. Backed up of course by some type enforced penalty for ignoring do not smoke signs.

As for distressed and vulnerable, inpatients aren't the only ones. Many of us who have never smoked, have to come for cancer check ups/treatment/follow up and having to breathe in second hand poison is not something we should be subjected to. In fact no-one should be forced to battle with dirty air to enter a hospital.

Response from NHS Ayrshire and Arran

Dear again,

Thank you for your recent email regarding our smoke free grounds policy.

I thought it might be useful to give you some background to the recent changes, and potential future changes, with regards to smoking on NHS grounds.

In line with Scottish Government requirements we moved to smoke free grounds at the end of March 2015, after a considerable amount of engagement on the policy, implementation etc. As a health board we had already been planning to move to smoke free grounds, however this directive gave us a definitive date.

This action forms part of the Government’s approach to achieving a smoke free Scotland and a prevalence of 5% or less of people smoking in Scotland (currently the average prevalence is 22%).

On the whole, compliance has been reasonable, since we launched this policy and we have seen a difference in numbers who are smoking on our grounds. Our staff are complying very well to the policy, and it is of course, part of their terms and conditions to comply with all NHS policies.

In respect of patients and visitors however, there continue to be breaches of the policy. As there is no legislation in relation to smoking on NHS grounds, there are no sanctions we can bring to patients or visitors who smoke on our grounds. All staff are encouraged to speak to those who are breaching the policy, but not all staff feel comfortable in doing so. We are currently providing training sessions for staff in relation to this policy.

I can provide you with reassurance that achieving compliance with this policy is a live issue for us and we have a group (Organisational Smoke Free Grounds Policy Group) which meets regularly to consider feedback and enquiries such as yours. This group reports periodically to the Corporate Management Team and to the NHS Board.

There is a health bill going through parliament at the moment, which will bring in legislation and fines in relation to smoking on NHS grounds, and we understand this relates to the perimeter of hospital buildings (distance yet to be decided). We have no definite timeframe for this as yet.

In the meantime, we continue to closely monitor compliance with the policy and use internal communications systems and the local media to reinforce the importance of complying with our policy.

If you would find it useful to speak directly to the organisational lead for this policy and chair of the Smoke Free Grounds meeting to discuss any these issues in more detail – please contact Elaine Young (Assistant Director of Public Health) as follows: elaine.young@nhs.net or on 01292 885914

Elaine Young

Assistant Director of Public Health

Health Improvement Programmes

Public Health Department

Afton House

Ailsa Campus

Dalmellington Rd

Ayr

KA6 6AB

01292 885914 (direct line) 15914 (Ext)

Secretary: Catherine Livingstone (01292 885895/ Ext 15895)

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Update posted by again (the patient)

Thank you for your informative post. Once I have recovered from my current episode I will take your advice and contact Elaine. Perhaps if more of us non-smokers spoke up we would not be inconvenienced and poisoned by a drug using minority.

Good luck with your campaign and I look forward to the Bill being adopted.