Portsmouth hospital trusts lead way on being smoke-free sites

Queen Alexandra Hospital in Cosham
Queen Alexandra Hospital in Cosham
Emma Sunderland-Hansen, Kiera Baillie, fundraiser Debbie Webb and Rachel Hibbert. Picture: Keith Woodland

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HOSPITAL trusts are being encouraged to become smoke-free sites following in the footsteps of Portsmouth Hospitals NHS Trust.

Public Health England wants to see all hospitals free of smoking and for patients to get more support to quit.

Queen Alexandra Hospital in Cosham, which is run by PHT, is a smoke-free zone.

Public Health England chief executive Duncan Selbie has written to every NHS trust chief executive asking them to implement a ban on smoking by patients, staff and visitors across all hospital buildings and grounds.

He said: ‘I am asking for trust’s help to reach smokers who are in their hospital waiting rooms, consulting rooms and beds.

‘By working together I believe we can make the NHS a place which provides a supportive tobacco-free environment.’

In the Portsmouth area, several trusts have led the way with smoking bans on hospital grounds, while others are working with local authority public health teams towards going completely smoke-free in the future.

As previously reported in The News, Solent NHS Trust recently banned smoking from all the sites it runs, including St Mary’s Hospital and centres at St James’ Hospital in Milton.

Speaking at the time of the ban, which came in on October 1, Andrew Smith, manager of the trust’s Stop Smoking services, said: ‘Patients admitted on our wards have previously been permitted to smoke in some outdoor areas.

‘We have now taken a decision that we will, instead, offer people support to quit smoking altogether rather than encourage unhealthy lifestyle choices.’

To help deter smokers at QA Hospital, PHT introduced fines for people seen dropping litter including cigarette ends.

Diana Grice, director for Public Health England in the south east said: ‘In our area, smoking rates continue to fall across the region and are now the lowest on record at 15.9 per cent. Tobacco sales are also in decline as record numbers of people quit smoking.

‘This is good news but there is more work needed to encourage more smokers to kick the habit and give themselves a better chance of staying healthy.’