Bosses at the Royal Sussex County Hospital in Brighton are planning a fresh crackdown on smoking.
Smoking is already banned at the Royal Sussex but the ban is widely flouted, a board meeting was told this morning (Monday 25 February).
Chris Adcock, chief executive of Brighton and Sussex University Hospitals NHS Trust, which runs the Royal Sussex, said: “We have a policy that isn’t being adhered to.”
Medical director Steve Holmberg said: “The problem is we’ve made a draconian policy and said, ‘No smoking.’ But it’s clearly so discredited it’s embarrassing.”
The trust board was told that it was a national policy that smoking should be banned in hospitals.
Mr Adcock said that the ban was written into the employment contract of all staff and breaking the ban was a disciplinary offence.
Staff had a duty to challenge anyone smoking on the hospital site, he said, but that was not without its problems.
“Staff have been reluctant to challenge for fear of verbal abuse or violence,” Mr Adcock said.
“We show some discretion when people have had bad news. We try to use common sense.”
Dr Holmberg said: “I quite often challenge people about smoking. I get the odd look but I haven’t been hit yet!
“The problem isn’t so much with visitors and contractors. It’s the people on the chemo drip or in a wheelchair with no legs.
“And it tends to be in the worst places. You have to go through a fug of smoke in the corridor to the Thomas Kemp Tower.”
Trust chairman Julian Lee said: “We’ve got smoking shelters on our sites but they’re not where people want to smoke. There are no signs to find them.”
Mr Adcock said that there were litter trawls twice a day every week day across all the trust’s sites, starting at 7am.
But a new drive was needed to stub out the problem.
He said: “It’s not an uncommon phenomenon for the NHS.”
He would be working with a couple of colleagues, Rachel Clinton from the comms team and Steve Gallagher about policing the ban.
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