Health chiefs admit to ‘treading a fine line’ by putting up smoking shelters at a Norfolk hospital in a bid to resolve the problems caused by smokers lighting up at its entrance. But the move is one which other hospitals in the region can sympathise. LUCY CLAPHAM reports.

To send a link to this page to a friend, you must be logged in.

There can be no doubt that smoking is damaging to human health. That argument was won long ago.

So perhaps it is surprising that despite a nationwide ban on smoking in public which came into force in 2007 – and an earlier pledge from health bosses for all hospitals to be smoke-free – lighting up is continuing to cause controversy at the James Paget University Hospital (JPH) in Gorleston.

Smokers can regularly be seen congregating outside the hospital’s main entrance in view of no smoking signs and are often asked by staff to move off site.

But the practice has continued and health chiefs have now taken the contentious decision to put up three shelters to accommodate smokers saying they are being “realistic” about the situation.

Although the move has been met with opposition from a patient group, health officials throughout the region have sympathised with the drastic decision – and some are even thinking of following suit.

Kirk Lower, director of workforce at the JPH, said the decision to build the shelters was “regrettable” - as they would sit at odds within the hospital which promotes services to help people quit smoking – but board members were struggling to come up with alternative solutions.

“We’ve done pretty much everything we can think of but people still insist on smoking out the front. We cannot resolve the problem. We’re dealing with the reality of the situation and the reality is people insist on smoking.

“Whatever we have tried in the past hasn’t worked – this is another attempt to manage the problem using something we haven’t tried before.”

Mr Lower said by putting up the shelters – two in the car park and the third at the back of the building – the hospital was not “encouraging or condoning” smoking but officials hoped they would put an end to people congregating at the entrance.

If planning permission is granted the new shelters are expected to be up by July but the JPH will not be the only hospital in the region to have them.

Smokers at Ipswich Hospital in Suffolk have been using a pair of on-site shelters for two months.

Spokesman Jan Ingle said they had helped combat the problems caused by people lighting up at its entrance, and provided more privacy, particularly for patients, in need of a cigarette.

And officials at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in King’s Lynn have discussed putting up shelters but a final decision has not been made.

Richard Humphries, spokesman for the Queen Elizabeth, said: “We’ve had a smoking ban here for some years, as with most other trusts, but have found it’s pretty much unenforceable. We haven’t got shelters but we’re considering it.”

Campaign charity Ash, which works to eliminate the harm caused by tobacco, welcomed the hospital’s “pragmatic” approach to dealing with the problem.

Research manager Amanda Sandford said: “To ban it completely is what all medical establishments should aspire to but we have to acknowledge smoking is very, very addictive and I think particularly for patients. To suddenly expect them to quit overnight, in what is generally a very stressful situation, I think it’s asking an awful lot of people.”

The move by JPH bosses has come under fire however from Norfolk Link, the countywide patient forum, which has said it is not happy with their decision.

But forum chairman Patrick Thompson also recognised the “very tricky” situation health chiefs were in and thought there were positives in putting up the shelters.

He said: “Even though we’re not happy and against the actual facilities of smoking on site, we have got to work towards improving the situation of getting people away from the front door.

“I think this was the first move and once we get that under way we can monitor it.”

23 comments

  • Second hand smoke may be an irritant and an annoyance, but it’s not a cause of death. There are no body bags filled with those who have developed tumors or heart disease as a result of second-hand smoke. The body bags are filled, however, with scientists and physicians who dare go against the anti-smoking lobby and state the obvious—that the science isn’t there..... Dr T.Simpson MD, Surgeon, Scientist.

    Report this comment

    Dave Copeland

    Sunday, June 3, 2012

  • Smoke as much as you like. However it sends the wrong message that the NHS should facilate or indeed encourage smoking. I trust the smoking shelters will be placed clear of the building and any pedestrain traffic, or inhailing second hand smoke might cause more problems.

    Report this comment

    Paul Morley

    Friday, June 1, 2012

  • Roy Castle smoked cigars.

    Report this comment

    Dave Copeland

    Sunday, June 3, 2012

  • The WHO say that millions die every year from passive smoking, but have never produced a death certificate stating that the death was due to second hand smoke or even a contributory cause.

    Report this comment

    chas winfield

    Friday, June 1, 2012

  • The Government collects over 12 billion in duty and tax on tobacco products, and the cost of so called smoking related illnesses is about 2.7 billion.

    Report this comment

    chas winfield

    Thursday, May 31, 2012

  • No, but a biopsy would have been taken to find the cause of the disease, and also to determine how the disease was caused. Scientifical evidence found the lungs in a state similar to those of a smoker, therefore aggressive passive smoking can be put down as a cause of death.

    Report this comment

    MonkeyNuts

    Saturday, June 2, 2012

  • i dont think it will make alot of difference, we visited a theme park last week which was no smoking except designated shelters and smokers just ignore it and smoke where they like regardless. cigarette smoke triggers my asthma so im constantly holding my breath to go in or out of shops, businesses

    Report this comment

    Shelley Ward

    Wednesday, May 30, 2012

  • So, Wise Owl, by that logic a jogger who has a heart attack, or someone who has AIDS should also pay for their own treatment? The list of self-inflicted injuries is endless.Oh yes... If you have the misfortune of needing hospital treatment, just remember, it's likely to be smokers' taxes that are paying for it!! WARNING. SMOKERPHOBIA CAN HARM YOU AND OTHERS AROUND YOU.

    Report this comment

    Dave Copeland

    Thursday, May 31, 2012

  • Dave Copeland seems to be missing a point. Joggers jog as this is generally a good thing to do healthwise and some babies are unfortunate enough to be born with AIDS so to use this as an example is inexcusable. Smoking is a lifestyle choice and one i didnt make, purely because i know the consequences of doing so. You choose to smoke knowing the facts that it can and probably will kill you, so why should i as a non smoker be held accountable for your actions? Same goes for any drug related disease.

    Report this comment

    MonkeyNuts

    Friday, June 1, 2012

  • And also, why would it be the tax you Smokers pay that would pay for my treatment if i needed any? I work fulltime and pay alot in taxes so i'd like to think i was looking after myself thank you very much. If it was an illness due to passive smoking then yes you deserve to pay, the cost of a packet of cigarettes is pennies when you consider the cost of a loss of life.

    Report this comment

    MonkeyNuts

    Friday, June 1, 2012

  • Smokers are smokers.where ever they are.they need there gag they have one.volentry drivers smoker in there car.not Surpose to.but you a non smoker.you stink when you get out of car.bloody disgusting.no respect.

    Report this comment

    maureenmarney@aol.com

    Wednesday, May 30, 2012

  • So the smokers have got their little hut's, lets hope they use them and we can enter the hospital without having to go home with their stinking smoke on our clothes. Smokers won, Management gutless.

    Report this comment

    loco

    Wednesday, May 30, 2012

  • Chas, i wouldnt say millions die but you cannot deny that those raised in the days when smoking was socially acceptable, the people who didnt smoke had this forced upon them. Factory Workers, Pub Workers etc had no choice but to breathe in this poison and there is a direct link between passive smoking and lung disease. Deny it all you want, but its facts.

    Report this comment

    MonkeyNuts

    Saturday, June 2, 2012

  • "but still agree smokers need somewhere to go" - they can smoke until their little lungs collapse, as long as its outside the hospital grounds. They all disgust me. You walk into the Hospital by someone hooked up to an IV machine (or oxygen mask!) who will be puffing on a cancer stick resting on the no smoking sign outside the childrens area of A and E. Does smoking cause you to forget how to read? They have no common sense at all. Either that or they are all completely stupid!

    Report this comment

    MonkeyNuts

    Thursday, May 31, 2012

  • Chas, you seem to be misguided. Of course there hasn't been an official death from passive smoking, but there is a direct link from inhaling second hand smoke, the death of Roy Castle and his years of being subject to passive smoking was a cause of his lung cancer and subsequent death. Its not just an irritant, it can and does lead to a prolonged illness (lung disease). These are the real facts.

    Report this comment

    MonkeyNuts

    Saturday, June 2, 2012

  • maureenmarney@aol.com

    Wednesday, May 30, 2012

  • MonkeyNuts. You have been mislead. The only way to find the cause of lung cancer is to have an autopsy. Did Roy have an autopsy when he was still alive?

    Report this comment

    chas winfield

    Saturday, June 2, 2012

  • MonkeyNuts says 'therefore aggressive passive smoking can be put down as a cause of death'. So why haven't any such death certificates been produced?.

    Report this comment

    chas winfield

    Sunday, June 3, 2012

  • I think the shelters are a good Idea, You cant stop everyone smoking and at least it would be in one area and away from the doors. I spent a good 72 hours up there when my daughter was having her baby and went and had a fag regardless of the signs. I have since given up but still agree smokers need somewhere to go!

    Report this comment

    Denise Halliwell

    Wednesday, May 30, 2012

  • I would like to congratulate the James Paget Hospital for also building a smoking shelter for staff. Last year an Essex nurse was murdered when she went offsite for a smoke.

    Report this comment

    chas winfield

    Thursday, May 31, 2012

  • On the contrary loco the management has used some basic common sense in an effort to be fair to everybody. Well done them.

    Report this comment

    cynical

    Wednesday, May 30, 2012

  • NOBODY has ever died from second hand smoke. FACT. If anti-smoking groups possessed such a death certificate they would have it plastered all over the media. Passive smoking could be an irritant to asthma sufferers.

    Report this comment

    chas winfield

    Saturday, June 2, 2012

  • I personally think smokers should pay for their own treatment in hospitals, after all cancers and other lung diseases that have been caused by smoking are self inflicted so why should the rest of us pay for their stupidity? Smokers know full well the dire consequences of smoking!

    Report this comment

    Wise owl

    Thursday, May 31, 2012

The views expressed in the above comments do not necessarily reflect the views of this site

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

Norfolk Weather

Sunny

Sunny

max temp: 26°C

min temp: 18°C

Five-day forecast

loading...

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT