NHS Isle of Wight is implementing a programme of improved care standards. This includes emphasising the national requirement that all NHS sites – both the grounds and buildings are completely ‘Smokefree’.
Smoke-free NHS sites communicate a strong message about the dangers of smoking and secondhand smoke. It is now widely known and understood that secondhand smoke causes a wide range of diseases including lung cancer, coronary vascular disease and chronic respiratory problems. In 2002 the World Health Organisation (WHO) classified second-hand smoke as a carcinogen.
Ensuring a totally smoke-free environment at NHS sites on the Island including St. Mary’s Hospital will protect patients, visitors and staff from the dangers of exposure to secondhand smoke. Smoking outside the entrance to St. Mary’s Hospital forces patients, visitors and staff to walk through a cloud of smoke which is unpleasant and incurs costs associated with clearing smoking litter which could be better spent on providing treatment and healthcare.
To raise awareness for patients and visitors, Stop Smoking Advisors were on hand on Friday 30th September to talk to visitors to St Mary’s about what this means for patients and visitors including:
Patients and visitors are not permitted to smoke anywhere on hospital grounds.
· Patients will be encouraged not to smoke and all patients will be offered support to stop smoking prior to their admission and during their hospital stay
Patients who are unable to stop smoking may leave the hospital to smoke, provided they receive permission from ward staff to leave the ward and provided they smoke outside the hospital grounds – this means walking to the public pavements surrounding the hospital site. Nursing staff cannot monitor patients who leave the hospital premises to smoke . Therefore this is potentially a risk to the patient’s safety and may effect their outcomes which could lead to a delay in discharge from hospital which is not only costly for the hospital but more importantly extremely distressing for the patient and their family.
Nikki Jolliffe, Smokfree co-ordinator commented: “There was a positive response from visitors to the hospital and everyone who was asked to extinguish their cigarettes was happy to comply. Visitors were pleased to see a proactive approach in improving the hospital environment.
“We ask that all patients and visitors respect our smoking policy which complies with national guidance on smoke-free environments in hospitals and supports NHS Isle of Wight’s commitment to reducing the risks of smoking for everyone.”
For help, advice and support to stop smoking contact the hospital Stop Smoking Advisors on 552331, your local GP Practice, pharmacy or visit www.nhsstopsmokingiow.co.uk.