Two hospitals to ban smoking

By James CalnanSTAFF, patients and visitors are to be banned from smoking at two hospitals.From January, people wishing to smoke at Colchester General Hospital and Essex County Hospital, also in Colchester, will have to use designated areas.

By James Calnan

STAFF, patients and visitors are to be banned from smoking at two hospitals.

From January, people wishing to smoke at Colchester General Hospital and Essex County Hospital, also in Colchester, will have to use designated areas.

These will be set up outside the hospital buildings and away from entrances, replacing the current smoking rooms within the hospitals and outside the entrances.


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Dr Marion Wood, medical director at Essex Rivers Healthcare Trust, which runs both hospitals, said: “It is important that in our staff and patient policies we reflect both the NHS and society's need to provide the safest environment in which to work and be treated.

“Providing a smoke-free environment is an absolute must if we are going to take public health issues seriously.

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“Ultimately, we are a hospital and as a place where people come to access health care - we cannot be seen to condone smoking, which remains a primary reason underlying a significant proportion of health problems.”

Special advisers will offer advice and support to help patients and staff to quit smoking, while trust employees will also be able to attend counselling sessions during their working hours.

Dr Wood added: “We are aware that smoking is often an addiction and we have to understand that staff and patients may initially find the change difficult.

“It is for that reason alone that we have put in place interim designated smoking areas outside of the hospital buildings and set up stop-smoking counselling sessions.”

Last month Brendan Osborne, chief executive of Colchester Primary Care Trust, called for smoking to be banned in public places, such as pubs, restaurants, theatres and public transport.

The primary care trust board is expected next month to agree a formal resolution asking for a ban on smoking in public.

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