Hospital will be smoke free by next March

Craigavon Area Hospital. INLM02-110gc
Craigavon Area Hospital. INLM02-110gc

Craigavon Area Hospital should be smoke free by March 2016 as part of proposals outlined by the Health Minister.

The Southern Health and Social Care Trust welcomed the announcement from Jim Wells, which stated that all trusts should be completely ‘Smoke Free’ by early next year.

The trust has operated a smoke free policy since 2008, which prohibits smoking in all of its buildings except those registered under The Residential Care Homes Order (NI) - which have a designated smoking room.

This latest move will mean that smoking will no longer be permitted anywhere on Southern Trust grounds, buildings, entrances, car parks or in cars, by anyone - including patients, clients, visitors, staff, and contracted workers.

Medical director, Dr John Simpson, who is leading the smoke free plans in the Southern Trust, said, “With over 2,300 deaths each year due to smoking-related illnesses like cancer and heart disease, and with the harmful health effects of second hand tobacco smoke now established beyond reasonable dispute, smoking is the most prominent preventable threat to public health. So it stands to reason that people should not be exposed to such a risk to their wellbeing when they are in a health and social care environment.

“This latest development goes much further than our previous policy as we will no longer have smoking shelters and people will no longer be permitted to smoke in cars. As we wanted to ensure that this direction was clearly communicated, we carried out a survey of staff, patients, and the general public just before Christmas - and we are very happy to see that the majority of respondents (65%) will be backing us with these plans.

“We acknowledge that our plans are ambitious but, with the commitment of our staff and support from local people, we are ready for the challenge and know that it is the right thing to do to protect the health and wellbeing of our local population.”

The smoke free proposals will be tabled at Southern Trust Board meeting on March 26. Text us your views to 84555, starting with PTTEXT and then a space.