QA Hospital commits to becoming smoke-free next year

QUEEN Alexandra Hospital will become a smoke-free site in the new year.

Portsmouth Hospitals NHS Trust (PHT) is looking to ban all smoking on its campus, getting rid of the current designated smoking shelters.

The move comes as part of a national initiative which aims to see all NHS sites promoting healthier lifestyles. PHT signed the NHS Smoke Free Pledge and will make the changes from January 14.

Its campaign will be formally launched at QA’s open day next month which has the theme We Share Clean Air.

Mark Cubbon, chief executive, said: ‘National smoking rates are declining but smoking is still the leading cause of premature death in the UK.

‘We can reach many smokers with stop-smoking support through our health services, as we know a quarter of all patients occupying beds in acute hospitals smoke.

QA Hospital will look to ban smoking from its site.

QA Hospital will look to ban smoking from its site.

‘PHT is one of the largest employers in Portsmouth and one of the busiest acute hospitals in the country.

‘The trust has signed the NHS Smoke Free Pledge – a commitment to reducing tobacco-related harm and helping smokers quit. But we are going a step further by making the site completely smoke free in January.

‘We are providing additional training and support for staff and patients and visitors who would like to quit, in support of improving the health of our population.’

During its open day on October 13, between 10.30am and 3pm, QA Hospital will invite people to meet staff, ask questions and get a behind-the-scenes look at some of the wards and departments.

More information on the hospital becoming a smoke-free site will also be available.

Councillor Matthew Winnington, cabinet member for health and wellbeing at Portsmouth City Council, welcomed the announcement.

He said: ‘It is the right idea and, being a hospital, the right message to send.

‘If you are walking into a hospital, you don’t expect to have to breathe in smoke; these are sites dedicated to health and wellbeing.

‘It won’t be a decision that is universally accepted but I think the majority of people will welcome it and not see it as being an issue.’

Two years ago, Solent NHS Trust made the decision to make all its premises smoke-free sites. This included St James’ Hospital and St Mary’s Hospital in Milton, Cosham Health Centre and Lake Road Health Centre.