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Plan to stop smoking on hospital grounds

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PATIENTS and staff face a ban on smoking on South Wales hospital grounds as NHS chiefs consider tough new rules to protect people’s health.

Cardiff and Vale University Health Board is considering moves to stop people smoking outside hospital entrances from April.

This could be extended to all grounds owned and managed by the NHS organisation later in the year.

It is understood Health Minister Edwina Hart is examining what action can be taken to outlaw smoking on NHS premises.
Dr Sharon Hopkins, Cardiff and Vale University Health Board’s director of public health, said: “There has to be a cultural change with people accepting that smoking isn’t the done thing when they are working for a health-based organisation and trying to improve the health of the local population, of which they are a part.

“People have to take responsibility for ensuring there’s a cultural change so it becomes unacceptable to smoke and people feel comfortable in being able to approach people about it.

“Where this has worked well, organisations have taken the time to talk to staff and to think through difficult issues and be compassionate.”

The three organisations which made up Cardiff and Vale University Health Board – Cardiff and the Vale of Glamorgan health boards and Cardiff and Vale NHS Trust – had all implemented smoke-free policies.

The health board is currently discussing the restrictions with staff as it draws up the plans, which are thought to include smoking cessation support.

Tanya Buchanan, director of ASH Wales, said: “In making their hospitals smoke-free the health board is helping smokers to quit, contributing towards reductions in hospital stays and adverse outcomes such as poor wound healing and also reducing the cost of treating smoking related illness.”

Wales’ chief medical officer Dr Tony Jewell said: “The minister is looking at what we need to do from our end about this, particularly around entrances and windows.

“There is still the potential for health boards, as landlords of property, to encourage smoke-free grounds.”

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