New rules designed to turn hospitals into completely smoke-free places are being openly flouted across Tayside and Fife, The Courier can reveal.Good. People can spot a stupid rule when they see one, and banning smoking outdoors in windswept Scotland is certainly that.
NHS Fife recently launched its A Place to Be Smoke-free campaign encouraging smokers to refrain from lighting up on hospital grounds.
Signs were set up across all hospital sites to remind smokers they are not permitted to light up on hospital premises across the region.They are permitted, because the Health Act 2006 was installed on indoor premises to protect bystanders - like those poor bar workers who everyone has now forgotten about - from a cleverly-created myth. Not outdoor ones where there is no threat whatsoever to anyone except those that have freely chosen to risk it.
But with some people choosing just to ignore the messages, Edward Coyle, NHS Fife’s director of public health, conceded that bringing about the culture change needed to ensure fully smoke-free hospitals is a challenge.Hospitals are smoke-free already Ed, only the grounds and car parks - yes, car parks, for crying out loud - aren't. Because it's a ridiculous demand. That's why people are ignoring the messages, d'you see?
“Our smoking policy states that smoking is not permitted at any time for staff, patients, visitors, contractors or the general public within NHS Fife premises or on our grounds."Erm, whose grounds, Ed? I think you'll find they are owned by the taxpayer, of which smokers are an inordinately generous group when it comes to paying their way. They also employ your sorry arse.
“Our A Place to be Smoke-free campaign, which launched on No Smoking Day, saw eye-catching new signage installed at all hospital sites across Fife, as well as on our vehicles and in bus shelters across the kingdom. The campaign was also promoted widely in the local press and on our social media channels."Must have cost a pretty penny, matey. Didn't someone say the NHS is teetering on the brink and starved of cash?
"Furthermore, we employ a member of staff at the main entrance of our largest hospital, the Victoria Hospital, Kirkcaldy, specifically to further promote our no-smoking message."Eh? You actually took on a member of staff on full time pay - from the vanishing cash the NHS keeps complaining about - to nag smokers for no valid reason, on premises they co-own? Good grief.
[Andrew Radley, consultant in public health pharmacy with NHS Tayside, said] “In NHS Tayside there are several measures in place to ensure our existing policy is followed which includes the use of clear signage around all sites informing patients, visitors and staff that NHS Tayside grounds are smoke-free areas and a pre-recorded loud speaker message is played at Ninewells Hospital to reinforce this,”
“As a health promoting organisation, NHS Tayside takes breach of the policy very seriously and regularly communicates reminders of the smoking policy to patients, staff and visitors through both internal and external communications."Jeez, they love spending rivers of cash on pointless causes in the NHS, don't they? Perhaps why they keep finding PCTs are in debt, just saying.
“NHS Tayside Smoke Free Services provides smoking cessation services and support to NHS staff, patients and members of the public, including the availability of Nicotine Replacement Therapy, stop smoking classes and drop-in sessions.”All of it, of course, free to those who take it up but at vast cost to the NHS who have to pay pharma companies for it. No mention whatsoever of e-cigs which people buy voluntarily and cost the NHS the princely sum of bugger all.
All hospital grounds in Scotland were supposed to be smoke-free from April 1A perfect choice of date for such a daft policy.
Every NHS board was asked to sign up to the edict at the request of the Scottish Government, which is consulting on whether or not to make it a statutory offence to smoke in hospital grounds.
If the measure is included in the forthcoming Public Health Bill, ministers are said to be largely in favour of voting it through.It was never about peer-reviewed (pfft) studies on the harms from secondhand smoke, was it? Bar staff? What are they?
Guidance was issued to NHS Scotland and local authorities in 2005 encouraging them to “demonstrate leadership” by implementing smoking policies and promoting smoke-free lifestyles.Ah, of course. "Demonstrating leadership", this is the public sector term for doing something that no-one asked for, no-one really wants, and precious few even give a stuff about.
The five-year plan said smoke-free status should be achieved by the end of March this year, and would mean the removal of any designated smoking areas in NHS board buildings or grounds.You mean the designated smoking areas which used to be the best way of making sure the precious flowers who are upset by wisps of smoke in a car park knew where to avoid? Cracking idea.
A number of readers have complained to The Courier that their visits to hospital, either as patients or as relatives of those being treated inside, are regularly being spoiled by having to enter through a plume of smoke.Perhaps they should ask for the designated smoking areas back then, or is that too complicated? It would certainly go some way to stop their joyous day out at the hospital being 'spoiled', wouldn't it?
[Bob Smart, from Arbroath] said: “At all entrances, particularly the main one, hardened smokers totally ignore the warnings. The sight of patients on drips and oxygen puffing away is disgusting."I'd say it is revolting and inhumane that they should not be afforded a place inside the hospital somewhere rather than being deliberately paraded by public health fascists, but each to their own Bob.
“If the powers that be were as ruthless as the parking attendants, the grounds really would be a no smoking area.”Fine the bastards! Then clamp their ankles in chains until they cough up! And if they still don't pay, put them in the crusher! That what you mean, Bob?
Looks like this issue will run and run, which is interesting because it illustrates that:
a) The NHS isn't as strapped for cash as they like to claim
b) The NHS is stuffed full of managers thinking up policies they can 'liaise' with expensive ad agencies and publicists about.
c) Many of the public have lost the faculty of risk evaluation, along with empathy and common sense.
d) It has never been about science, health or secondhand smoke.
e) If you live in Scotland, I pity you.