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Hospitals seek your views on their smoking ban

The health trust that runs Doncaster Royal Infirmary, Bassetlaw Hospital and Montagu Hospital in Mexborough is asking patients, visitors and local residents for their views on whether or not people should be allowed to smoke on its sites.

Doncaster and Bassetlaw Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust currently has a total ban on smoking.  Patients, staff and hospital visitors are asked to leave the sites altogether if they wish to smoke. 

The ban has not been without problems, however, including littering of cigarette butts on public streets outside the hospitals.  It has also proved difficult to enforce, with groups of smokers congregating outside entrances, clinic rooms and office windows and staff receiving verbal abuse if they ask them to move. 

That’s why the Trust has launched a smoking taskforce to seek the views of staff, patients, visitors and local residents on the best way of managing the problem.  It wants to hear from smokers and non-smokers and is keen to know what people think would be the best way of managing smoking by patients, visitors and staff.

“We’re looking for practical and effective solutions to the issue of smoking,” explained Deputy Director of Nursing Victoria Bagshaw, who is leading the review.  “We discourage smoking because it is very harmful to health, but at the same time we recognise that many smokers are addicted and will feel they need a cigarette while at the hospital, especially if someone they care about is extremely unwell.  We also don’t like to see patients from the wards leaving the site to stand on street corners in the cold and rain while they smoke. 

“It’s a subject that many people have strong views on and we want to hear both sides – in particular, whether or not people think the current policy is working and, if not, what we should do about it while recognising that we don’t have the resources to operate smoking patrols on our sites.”

Anyone interested in getting involved in the debate can give their views online at https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/dbhsmoking, email smoking@dbh.nhs.uk, tweet to @DBH_NHSFT (#dbsmoke) or write to Smoking Taskforce, Management Suite, Doncaster Royal Infirmary, Armthorpe Road, Doncaster DN2 5LT.  The closing date is 14 September 2012.

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