"Access to Lancashire Cardiac Centre is via haze of smoke"

About: Blackpool Victoria Hospital / Cardiology

(as a relative),

My Husband attended the Lancaster Cardiac Centre today for tests. As it was Saturday the main entrance was closed and we had to enter by a side door. Two male patients in dressing gowns were stood by the door smoking.

In order to gain access to the building we had to pass through a haze of smoke which was disgusting. I am allergic to cigarette smoke which made this particularly uncomfortable for me. We could not believe that this was allowed at a Cardiology Unit for obvious reasons.

Along the gravel which is adjacent to the hospital building there are hundreds of discarded cigarette ends. When we exited the building there were two visitors smoking on the car park which is just outside the building. There needs to be more signage in this area as there are in other parts of the hospital and the no smoking policy needs enforcing.

Other hospitals are able to effectively implement their no smoking policy you would expect that an eminent cardiac unit could do this. You do not expect to have to suffer from cigarette smoke at a hospital.

The tests at the Lancashire Centre were carried out extremely efficiently and patient care was exemplary.

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Responses

Response from Paul Jebb, Assistant Director of Nursing (patient experience), Clinical Governance, Blackpool Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust

picture of Paul Jebb

Many thanks for your feedback and we are aware that controlling smoking at our entrance doors is a problem that we have tried over many years to challenge along with our colleagues within NHS Blackpool.

Signage is one of the interventions that the Trust has put in place to remind patients and visitors that there is no smoking allowed anywhere on the site, and we are currently reviewing this signage and plan to replace some of this with new signage in early 2013. We are aware that the signage alone doesn’t always work and it needs to be supported by staff actively challenging people who do not comply with the policy. We have developed training to support staff in enabling them to challenge appropriately and a communications campaign is soon to be rolled out aimed at all staff - which encourages staff to challenge people who continue to smoke on the site. Further interventions which we have implemented include free Nicotine Replacement Therapy offered to all inpatients, to support them in managing their nicotine withdrawal symptoms whilst they are in hospital. This forms part of the Inpatient Stop Smoking Treatment service offered to all tobacco users when they are admitted to the hospital.

Our domestic teams clean this area daily and certainly have their work cut out trying to keep on top of removing the cigarette ends. We have also recently been working closely with our partner colleagues in Blackpool Council to increase litter enforcement on and surrounding the hospital site. This work began on the 1st October 2012 and a number of fixed penalties have already been issued to anyone found dropping tobacco litter on or around the hospital site.

As a Trust we are committed to achieving a completely smokefree environment to protect patients visitors and staff. We are aware that there is still work to be done in order to achieve this and we will continue to implement the range of strategies mentioned to improve and maintain compliance.

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