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Bradford hospital chiefs give up on smoking ban in grounds
Health bosses have admitted defeat in their bid to ban smoking in the grounds of Bradford Royal Infirmary by re-introducing a smoking shelter.
The structure has been built in the grounds of BRI in a bid to banish smokers from the steps of the hospital’s main entrance.
Bradford Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust introduced a ban on smoking in its grounds in 2006 but smokers have persisted in lighting up in the doorway of BRI, forcing other patients and visitors to walk through clouds of smoke to enter the hospital.
Now, in response to a rising number of complaints, hospital bosses have decided to re-introduce smoking shelters.
The shelters were first introduced in 2002 at a cost of £50,000 when smoking was banned within hospital buildings. The shelters were then scrapped in 2005 when the ban on smoking was extended to hospital grounds.
The re-introduction at BRI follows in the footsteps of Airedale NHS Foundation Trust which re-introduced smoking shelters in 2010, also citing problems with policing a smoking ban.
The news co-incides with the start of Stoptober – an initiative running throughout this month in which smokers are being encouraged to take part in the first mass quit attempt held by the Department of Health and backed by Bradford health chiefs.
A Bradford Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust spokesman said: “Bradford Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust this month introduced a trial smoking shelter in response to complaints from the public about the persistent problem of patients and visitors smoking on the steps leading to the Bradford RoyaI Infirmary’s main entrance.
“The Foundation Trust has been officially ‘smoke-free’ in all buildings and in our grounds since 2006, but since this time there have been significant difficulties in implementing this policy. The main complaints have been from patients and visitors having to walk through ‘clouds of smoke’ to enter the BRI building. The legislation only applies to enclosed public places and work places and does not include open grounds.
“A number of measures, including the hospital’s security team undertaking regular patrols of the most problematic areas and staff asking smokers to refrain from subjecting others to passive smoke, have proved unsuccessful and, at times, staff have been met with verbal abuse and a lack of consideration and respect from members of the public and patients.
“Now, having taken into account feedback and input from patients, visitors, staff, partner organisations and smokers over the past year, the executive directors at the Foundation Trust have decided to introduce one trial smoking shelter at the main BRI entrance “The shelter’s re-introduction is not a decision that has been taken lightly and the emphasis is on making every effort to protect the public from the effects of passive smoking. The Foundation Trust remains committed to working with partner organisations to implement the recommendations of A Smoke-free Future (published by the Department of Health) and to being a ‘smoke-free’ organisation.
“We would also urge patients and visitors to contact the local NHS stop smoking service on (01274) 202793 to access information, help and stop smoking support if they wish to quit. Patients can also avail themselves of the local NHS stop-smoking service while an inpatient at one of the hospital’s weekly stop-smoking sessions for patients.
“Hospital staff do comply with the smoke-free policy and we will continue to expect them to go completely off-site to a suitable area away from other people in their off-duty time if they wish to smoke.
“The trial shelter’s usage will be evaluated over the coming months and the executive directors will then take the decision as to whether to keep a smoking shelter at the main entrance and whether to introduce similar shelters in other areas next year.”