Hospital opts for smoking ban

STAFF at Ipswich Hospital are today preparing themselves for the introduction of a total smoking ban on all of its premises.From August 1 smoking will be outlawed in every part of the hospital's grounds.

STAFF at Ipswich Hospital are today preparing themselves for the introduction of a total smoking ban on all of its premises.

From August 1 smoking will be outlawed in every part of the hospital's grounds.

The move comes in response to the recently published White Paper on public health, Choosing Health, which states that the NHS will be smoke free by the end of 2006.

Chris Dooley, acting chief executive of the hospital said: "This is not going to be popular with some members of staff and some members of the public and we need to make sure that we've got enough initiatives in place to help them.

"It is unacceptable, in my view, if our staff are smoking outside ward areas.

"On the Kirton Ward, which is the respiratory ward you can actually smell the smoke. It's getting through to the ward and that's not acceptable."

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Jennifer Canham, deputy director of human resources, said staff have already been consulted on the changes and will be fully informed of the decision and the resources available to them over the coming months.

She said: "For some staff it is part of their daily life and it will be quite an issue for them."

The ban will cover all areas of the hospital grounds and no exceptions will be made for staff or visitors.

For long-stay mental health patients or terminally ill patients exceptions will be made on a case by case basis.

The hospital is one of the last in the region to introduce such a ban. The West Suffolk Hospital in Bury St Edmunds led the way in 1998 and the James Paget in Gorleston introduced a ban on Non-Smoking Day last week.

Staff at the Norfolk and Norwich Hospital are currently in discussions about introducing a ban there.

What do you think of the ban? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or send us an e-mail to eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

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