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Hospital smoking ban being flouted

Hospital smoking ban being flouted

STUB IT OUT: Elaine Cheeseman at Dorset County Hospital

STUB IT OUT: Elaine Cheeseman at Dorset County Hospital

First published in News Dorset Echo: Photograph of the Author by , Senior Reporter

HOSPITAL patients and visitors are having to walk through discarded cigarette butts as people flout a smoking ban, it is claimed.

Elaine Cheeseman, from Weymouth, noticed the litter when visiting a friend at Dorset County Hospital in Dorchester .

She said: “It is just awful.

“It’s not just in that area, it’s all around the entrances and at the bus stop.

“Patients and visitors come to the hospital often feeling quite anxious and do not expect to have to deal with that.

“It smells and it looks disgusting.”

Smoking has been banned on the hospital grounds since 2006 in line with national policy.

But Mrs Cheeseman, 58, said she has seen people flouting the ban.

She said: “I’m an ex-smoker myself, and I know for a lot of people it’s an everyday part of their life. Stopping is not just switching out a light, and I’m aware that if patients are facing illnesses, they may want to smoke. You can’t deprive them of that.”

She added: “I was disgusted by the mess outside a hospital that clearly states in large writing that it is a smoke free zone.

“If smoking cannot be controlled, then would it not be preferable to return the cigarette and litter bins, or to provide a designated area, rather than having to walk through the disgusting mess that currently litters the walkways outside the hospital?”

“You are never going to stop people smoking, but if they are going to have a ban, they at least need to uphold it.”

A spokesman for Dorset County Hospital said cigarette butts are cleared on a regular basis as part of the hospital’s grounds clearance and maintenance programme.

She said: “Smoking is not allowed anywhere on the hospital site and we have renewed our efforts recently to spread the smoke-free message.

“We have every prominent signs throughout the site telling people they should not smoke anywhere in the hospital grounds.

“Staff are encouraged to approach anyone they find smoking and executive directors have been emphasising the message as part of their regular patient safety walkabouts.”

She added: “We are also doing a lot of work to support patients coming into hospital who smoke, by helping them give up beforehand or providing nicotine replacement therapy while they are in hospital.

“We have no plans to re-install the smoking shelters on the site.

“As a healthcare provider we cannot condone smoking in any way and will continue our efforts to encourage people to quit.”

For more information and help on stopping smoking, visit dorsetsmokestop.co.uk

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