PEOPLE will be banned from smoking on Solent NHS Trust sites to encourage people to quit.
The trust, which runs St Mary’s Hospital and St James’ in Portsmouth, is bringing in the ban on October 1 to coincide with the national campaign Stoptober.
This is a decision we have taken deliberately to help all our patients and staff have healthier livesAndrew Smith
Patients, visitors and staff on Solent NHS sites will no longer be able to smoke and the trust will be providing extra support to help them quit.
Although smoking is already prohibited on NHS sites, discretion has been exercised allowing limited smoking in some designated areas.
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.
‘We know that poor health outcomes for people with mental health conditions are as a result of higher smoking prevalence in this group.
‘This is a decision we have taken deliberately to help all our patients and staff have healthier lives – and protect everyone else from the harmful effects of secondhand tobacco smoke.’
Over the past few months, the trust has been engaging with services users and staff on the plans. Notices have been put up across most of the sites, around 120 across Portsmouth and Southampton, informing visitors of the pending changes.
To make the transition easier, the trust is offering intensive support for smokers to quit, including providing rapid access to Nicotine Replacement Therapy.
Councillor Luke Stubbs, cabinet member for adult social care and public health at Portsmouth City Council, said: ‘Everyone recognises that smoking is unhealthy, particularly in a hospital environment.
‘But I do think that some of the reasons for this move are a bit draconian. People have their own choices.’
But Cllr Stubbs praised the trust for offering more services to help people quit.
He added: ‘Figures show that the majority of people who smoke would like to give up, so offering support is worthwhile.’
The ban will be transitional for some sites and will be in place by the end of the year.