SMOKING is set to be banned outright at the Tyrone County Hospital in Omagh after the Western Trust announced its intention to become the North’s first ‘smoke free’ health body.
It will implement the smoke-free policy to co-incide with National No Smoking Day on March 12 next year.
Smoking will not be permitted anywhere on its grounds or premises. This includes buildings, entrances, pavements and car parks. No smoking will be allowed on site for patients, service users, staff member of the public and contracted workers.
This is a step further than the previous policy as there will be no shelter where patients can smoke and staff will not be allowed to smoke in their cars on site.
The moves comes as the Public Health Agency launches a campaign to highlight smoking’s damaging impact on families as the single greatest cause of preventable illness, premature death and health inequality.
Hardened smokers determined to light up will have to leave the sites altogether.
In a move to extinguish concerns from smokers, Dr Andrew Hamilton consultant cardiologist at the South West Acute Hospital in Enniskillen said, “One of the questions people will ask is what will happen when a person who smokes is admitted to hospital?
“We are going to be there to support them every step of the way. Whilst in hospital, patients will be asked if they smoke. For patients who do smoke, they will be offered advice and support to quit including prescribing nicotine replacement therapy to ease withdrawal symptoms. They will also be referred to the Stop Smoking Team.”
Dr Hamilton also gave a reassurance that staff who wish to quit smoking are able to access nicotine replacement therapy adding that the purpose of making the announcement six months in advance “is to raise awareness and to provide support to staff, patients and the public who wish to stop smoking.”
Western Trust chief executive Elaine Way said, “The health of our patients and staff is a top priority and we wish to provide the best environment for those who come to work in our facilities.”