November 27, 2013

Cause For Conflict? New Guidance to Stop Smoking in NHS

New guidance from the National Institute for Health and Care and Excellence (NICE) tells hospitals in England to ban smoking from their grounds.

The guidance, which is voluntary for NHS Trusts to follow has raised concerns about enforcing a ban. Hospital security staff and nurses who ask smokers to use shelters or areas provided are already subjected to verbal abuse and aggression and a total ban could increase the potential for conflict. 

NICE public health director Prof Mike Kelly said the NHS had turned a "blind eye" for too long. He acknowledged that stopping a determined smoker from going outside to light up was "clearly very difficult" and added that the guidance was about a culture shift and removing smoking shelters would help eliminate any subliminal message that it was ok to smoke around a hospital..

Simon Clark, of smokers' lobby group Forest, said, "It's almost impossible to enforce without installing CCTV cameras and employing wardens to monitor the grounds."

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