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Hospital Launches No Smoking Zero Tolerance Policy

National No Smoking Day

Date:       Wednesday, March 9, 2005 (National No Smoking Day)
Time:      10am
Venue:    Main entrance of West Suffolk Hospital, Bury St Edmunds
Photo:     Hospital re-launches smoke free policy with Patient Advisory Panel members Michael Ruddick, Klaus Gleissberg and Ann Dodson and Jan Bloomfield, Director of Personnel and Communications

West Suffolk Hospital's No Smoking Policy will be re-launched on National No Smoking Day (March 9) with a series of new measures to stamp out smoking.

The hospital was one of the first in the country to impose a total ban on smoking on Trust premises in June 1998. In 1999 it won the *Tom Hurst European Award which recognises hospitals active in promoting effective no smoking hospitals.

The re-launch comes after the publication of the Government Public Health White Paper - Choosing Health, which includes new national guidelines on policing smoke free hospitals and supporting staff who want to give up smoking.

The updated policy will undergo a three-month consultation period from March 9. After the consultation there is expected to be a three-month lead-in period to allow staff to gain support if they wish to give up smoking. Formal adoption of the policy will start on September 9 when staff will not be permitted to smoke on any part of the Trust site. Staff who do not adhere to the ban could face disciplinary action.

Specialist advisors for the Suffolk Stop Smoking Service and the hospitalís occupational health department are working together to provide advice and support for staff. Those who wish to stop smoking will be helped to access individual or group support and pharmacological treatments. Suffolk Stop Smoking Service leaflets with advice for staff who want to quit will be available in every ward and department.

Free and confidential staff support sessions will be held throughout the year starting on March 15.The Suffolk Stop Smoking Service also offers free training which is open to all health service staff interested in supporting people to stop smoking.

Patients will be advised of the policy on admission to hospital, through their GPs and. Nicotine Replacement Therapy will be offered to those smokers experiencing nicotine withdrawal or who want to use their stay in hospital as an opportunity to quit.

Visitors or relatives can also refer themselves to the stop smoking service via the free-phone number 0800 0856 037.

Jan Bloomfield, Director of Personnel and Communications, said: "Our policy is not concerned with whether anyone smokes. It is of course up to individuals whether they choose to smoke, although for health reasons we do not encourage this. The policy is concerned though with where people smoke and the effect this has on patients, visitors, smoking and non-smoking colleagues.

"The introduction of completely smoke free hospitals can help smokers overcome their smoking habit by creating an environment in which people feel able to quit smoking and receive the support necessary to succeed.

"I hope that people will use National No Smoking Day to think about how their smoke affects not only their health but the health and well being of those around them."

Patient Advisory Panel members have welcomed the re-launch of the No Smoking Policy. They said: "We give our full support and backing to the re-launch of the policy and we urge patients, visitors and staff to comply.

"In a nutshell, our message is ≠ kill it before it kills you."


Tom Hurst was a hospital administrator who helped the World Health Organisation establish World No Tobacco Day which is held each year on May 31.

The Public Health White Paper, Choosing Health, announced that the NHS will become completely smoke free by the end of 2006. Smoking will not be permitted anywhere on hospital premises, including buildings and grounds.



West Suffolk Hospitals NHS Trust