Smoking at front of hospital wrong

WHILST the aims of the Northumberland NHS Stop Smoking Service ‘Smokefree’ campaign are admirable and to be encouraged, I wonder why they do not put their own house in order before spending money on a four-page advertising wraparound that came with the News Post Leader on Thursday, February 23.

During late December 2011 and most of January 2012, I was visiting Wansbeck General Hospital on a regular basis where I found the site no smoking policy being blatantly ignored.

This was evident by the quantity of dog ends at the entrances near to the no smoking signs and elsewhere.

This was not only visitors but patients in their dressing gowns attached to NHS equipment such as drip trolleys.

Presumably they must have had permission to leave the wards with this NHS equipment, but in any case were highly conspicuous.

In December and January during the high winds, the revolving front door was locked and visitors had to use the disabled ramp at the side.

However, the windswept smokers were huddled around this entrance and I had to battle my way through their filthy smoke.

It was more like visiting a seedy pub than a hospital.

I raised this at the reception and with nursing staff but was given various reasons why no action could be taken.

Why is this ‘Smokefree’ NHS allowing non-smokers to be subjected to passive smoking that causes ill health at premises that are supposed to do the opposite?

And why is it the ‘Quitline’ is not staffed seven days a week so that those who want help at the weekend do not have to wait until Monday?