NHS told to ban smoking near hospitals

Staff should be told not to help patients out of bed when they want to smoke

NHS hospitals have been advised to ban smoking on their premises and prohibit staff from facilitating patients who want to smoke, according to new guidance.

All hospitals should have an on-site stop-smoking service and staff should be instructed not to assist patients who want to smoke.

Measures should be implemented to help patients stop smoking while they are being cared for and “preferably help them to stop for good”, the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (Nice) said.

While individual NHS trusts will have the final say, staff and people using NHS services, including clinics, should be told not to smoke on the hospital grounds, Nice said.

Trusts should ensure “there are no designated smoking areas, no exceptions for particular groups and no staff-supervised or staff-facilitated smoking breaks for people using secondary care services”.

Professor Mike Kelly, director of the Centre for Public Health Excellence at Nice, described the guidance as a “culture shift” as opposed to creating a "penal culture" and said it is needed to end “the terrible spectacle of people on drips in hospital gowns smoking outside hospital entrances”.

“It's clearly absurd that the most lethal set of toxins to the human body are being passively encouraged in hospitals”, he said.

“We've known since the 1950s that smoking kills you and 61 years have passed and we're now tackling the problem in hospitals. That's too long.

“Smoking is the most important health problem facing the NHS. It's the leading cause of premature death in England: nearly 80,000 lives are lost each year due to smoking."

Figures released by Nice suggest continuing to smoke throughout pregnancy has contributed to up to 5,000 miscarriages and still-births and increases the risk of a premature labour.

The figures also show patients with mental health issues are more likely to smoke. One in five people in the general population smoke, but this figure rises to one in three among people who have long-term mental health issues. Seventy per cent of patients in psychiatric units smoke.

Professor Sue Bailey, president of the Royal College of Psychiatrists, said: “There is a common but mistaken belief among some mental health professionals that it's all right for patients in their care to smoke.

”This is wrong. Patients with mental health problems are far more likely to smoke than the general population, they suffer disproportionately higher rates of physical illnesses and they die earlier."

Dr Keith McNeil, chief executive of Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, is backing the initiative and said smoking will not be allowed anywhere on its grounds from the New Year.

He said: "I have spent a large part of my professional life dealing with the terrible effects of smoking: deaths from cancer, emphysema and lung transplantation. As well as this, smoking costs the NHS and society billions of pounds each year.

“As a leading healthcare organisation we should be encouraging a healthy lifestyle, and smoking is not part of that. I know how hard it is to quit and I want to do everything I can do to support staff and patients to give up."

However, smokers lobbying group forest said banning patients from smoking outside was "heartless and inhumane" and argued it would be impossible to enforce without installing CCTV cameras and wardens to monitor the area.

"Many smokers are in hospital for reasons that have nothing to do with smoking. Why should they be told they can't nip outside and have a cigarette in the open air?

"Tobacco is a legal product and a lot of people smoke to relieve stress. A cigarette break at work or while they are in hospital is something they look forward to."

Additional reporting by Press Association

ebooks
ebookA delicious collection of 50 meaty main courses
Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs General

    Guru Careers: Software Developer

    £30 - 35k + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Software Developer (JavaS...

    Guru Careers: Software Engineer / Software Developer

    £40-50K: Guru Careers: We are seeking an experienced Software Engineer / Softw...

    Ashdown Group: Trainee Consultant - Surrey/ South West London

    £22000 per annum + pension,bonus,career progression: Ashdown Group: An establi...

    Ashdown Group: Trainee Consultant - Surrey / South West London

    £22000 per annum + pension,bonus,career progression: Ashdown Group: An establi...

    Day In a Page

    Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

    Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

    Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
    Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

    Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

    Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
    China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

    China's influence on fashion

    At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
    Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

    The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

    Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
    Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

    Rainbow shades

    It's all bright on the night
    'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

    Bread from heaven

    Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
    Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

    How 'the Axe' helped Labour

    UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
    Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

    The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

    A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
    Welcome to the world of Megagames

    Welcome to the world of Megagames

    300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
    'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

    Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

    Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
    Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

    Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

    The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
    Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

    Vince Cable exclusive interview

    Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
    Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

    Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

    Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
    Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

    It's time for my close-up

    Meet the man who films great whites for a living
    Increasing numbers of homeless people in America keep their mobile phones on the streets

    Homeless people keep mobile phones

    A homeless person with a smartphone is a common sight in the US. And that's creating a network where the 'hobo' community can share information - and fight stigma - like never before