Wednesday, 2 February 2011

NHS Grampian: full retreat from hospital smoking ban

An unexpected pleasure to read NHS Grampian's new view of the smoking restrictions proposed last summer. Not to put too fine a point on it, the smoking ban 'would cause huge problems', according to medical director Dr Roelf Dijkhuisen. In a revolutionary statement that health boards up and down the country should note, Dr Dijkhuisen said, 'patients addicted to smoking could not be expected to “take their drip and go and stand at the bus station” to have a cigarette'.

Quite obviously this is an absurd requirement in an institution designed to improve people's health.

Nor does Dr Dijkhuisen approve of the solution reported in the Press and Journal just days ago.
"I’m not a fan of shelters. They are ugly bus stops and extremely expensive. Maybe we will designate an area where we will have to do no building work. Rather than spending £150,000, we should look at alternative ways of providing designated areas without forcing people to stand in the rain."
It remains to be seen what the Trust will propose as a solution, but it would seem that Dr Dijkhuisen's recommendations are intended to be a permanent solution, rather than a sticking-plaster job pending a total ban in a few years' time.  He is not the only board member who doesn't see the need for a complete ban in the foreseeable future:
Yesterday members welcomed the medical director’s recommendations – which included improving employees’ knowledge of the locations of smoking areas and clearer signs – but chief executive Richard Carey said it was important to remember this was not ideal and that a ban should still be a target.
Chairman Dr David Cameron disagreed, saying while the “aspiration” was for premises to be smoke-free, the board’s role was to “encourage people not to smoke rather than ban them”.
Does this sensible qualification from Dr Cameron mean that we have started to retreat from the ideal of a smoke-free Scotland? Surely no Scottish government would now legislate to make smoking on NHS premises a crime, as they seem to want to do in Wales? Some of ASH Scotland's ambitions as laid out in their recent (Cancer Research UK-funded) report Beyond Smoke-free also seem unrealisable.
We must ensure that all Scottish health and education services have smoke-free grounds.
A permanent solution, accommodating smokers in comfortable indoor accommodation that will entice them away from the doorways, will only be possible when the law is changed.


Anonymous said...

How can a smoking shelter cost £150,000? Two houses or twenty cars can be built for that. No wonder the NHS costs so much. Ask him - he seems reasonable; or, if necessary, hit them with an FOI request for a copy of the quote.

Anonymous said...

Sorry, it the cost of several shelters. He doesn't state the cost of each shelter.

Belinda said...

not really sure of the point of doing that, since he is not recommending they build one/them.

Belinda said...

.. but feel free, if you want to know!

Belinda said...

To be honest Anonymous, this man has me baffled. He dislikes shelters, knows they are a waste of money, but he wants a solution that doesn't involve people standing in the rain. I can't see what alternative he has that is within the smoking law.

But building cheapskate shelters is not an option anyway. If people are to be attracted to them they need as a minimum to be airtight, and preferably to have comfortable seating, hot and cold water, access to a toilet etc. There is no point in building shelters that are cold and inconvenient to use as people will just opt for the doorway and you have to pay more people to shoo them away.

Anonymous said...

I would think that the quoted 150000 is the total build costs over all their sites. I note however that they do not mention that they do not own all the sites that they had targeted and may be the real reason why they have backed off a full ban.

Bill G

Unknown said...

This whole shelter thing pisses me off. When it first sunk in, in early 2007, that the smoking ban in the UK was on it's way I looked for compadres that thought that the ban was a load of bullshit. I googled smoking ban and a miriad of adds for smoking shelters, shelters that pigs would not be allowed to live in by law, popped up. Anyone who could put two bricks and some sheeting together was now an ace smoking shelter builder and charged a fortune for what turned out to be a waste of money as those that bought one, especially the hospitality trade, went under anyway.

The good Dr Roelf and NHS Grampian should be commended for wanting to kick these farcical shelters into touch.

I don't want to see people, people who are not long for this world, standing outside with all their medical paraphernalia, in all weathers, for the world of the anti smoker to sneer at.

As many people on the blogosphere know my wife has a mental condition called Alzheimer's and I have noticed that she is smoking more than she used to, big style. You see she's forgotten that she had a cigarette only five minuetes before. She doesn't know, she doesn't understand about the ban.

I commend F2C Scotland for their stand on smoking and mental health issues. Instutions like hospitals need educating and F2C Scotland is the organisation to do it!

Anonymous said...

The answer to the problem is Air Filtration in conjunction with Indoor Air Quality Standards.

The SCOTTISH GOVERNMENT must surely realise that the Smoking Ban needs to be changed to take account of new technology or will they forever have their heads stuck in the sands of Global Tobacco Control policy.


Anonymous said...

We notice that Carey and Cameron are still using their 'golden word' smokefree. Isn't it time that we started using 'golden words' or our own?

Not long ago there was a bunch of homosexuals. Now there is a 'gay community' - note the use of two golden words!

We should stop referring to ourselves as 'smokers' or ' we smokers' and start referring to ourselves as 'THE SMOKING COMMUNITY'.

"The Smoking Community is pleased to see that Dr X recognises that people are more important than places...."