Hospital enforces smoking ban

A HOSPITAL has introduced a ban on smoking to improve the environment for staff and patients and encourage addicts to give up.West Suffolk Hospital, in Bury St Edmunds, has joined a wave of NHS hospitals by enforcing a "zero tolerance" policy towards smokers – and staff who do not adhere to the ban could face disciplinary action.

A HOSPITAL has introduced a ban on smoking to improve the environment for staff and patients and encourage addicts to give up.

West Suffolk Hospital, in Bury St Edmunds, has joined a wave of NHS hospitals by enforcing a "zero tolerance" policy towards smokers – and staff who do not adhere to the ban could face disciplinary action.

Many welcomed the ban, which came into force yesterday, as a positive step.

Claire Scott, NHS professionals manager and a smoker of 25 years, believes the prospect of a total ban was the springboard she needed to quit 13 weeks ago.


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"I feel brilliant now, my health has really improved and I hope more will join me," she said.

"Suffolk Stop Smoking has been really good - without their help and advice I think quitting would have been much harder."

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Jan Bloomfield, director of personnel and communications at the hospital, said: "The introduction of completely smoke-free hospitals can help smokers overcome their smoking habit by creating an environment in which people feel able to quit smoking and receive the support necessary to succeed.

"It is of course up to individuals whether they choose to smoke, although for health reasons we do not encourage this.

"The policy is concerned, though, with where people smoke and the effect this has on patients, visitors, smoking and non-smoking colleagues."

Specialist advisors from the Suffolk Stop Smoking service and the hospital's occupational health department have been working together to provide advice and support for staff.

Those who wish to stop smoking are being helped to access individual or group support and pharmacological treatments.

Suffolk Stop Smoking Service leaflets with advice for staff who want to quit are available in every ward and department.

Patients will be advised of the policy in their hospital admission letter and by their GPs.

Nicotine Replacement Therapy will be offered to those smokers experiencing nicotine withdrawal or who want to use their stay in hospital as an opportunity to quit.

Visitors or relatives can also refer themselves to the stop smoking service via free-phone number 0800 0856 037.

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