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Smoking on hospital sites condemned

A report claims that patients, visitors and staff who smoke in the grounds of hospitals are undermining attempts by the NHS to promote a healthy lifestyle.

According to the study carried out by a team from Nottingham University, smoking is still prevalent on the premises of hospitals in England, with nearly 66% of acute and more than 33% of mental health trusts reporting breaches of smoke-free policies on a daily basis.

Researchers from the School of Community Health Science visited 22 premises belonging to 15 trusts and found patients and visitors smoking in the grounds at 94% of the acute sites, “clearly in breach” of policy, and often close to signs asking them not to smoke.

At 35% of the acute sites visited, smokers who were “clearly identifiable” as members of staff were observed breaching the policy, sometimes close to entrances.

They found that those areas which were especially affected included the main and side entrances, and spaces in front of the A&E and maternity departments, but they stressed that there was “no evidence” of smoking indoors during any of the visits.

The report said: “Policy infringements in the grounds were widespread and appeared to be widely tolerated undermining the ethos of hospitals as health-promoting organisations.”

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Nottingham University