The solution found by the Pennine Acute Trust is less imaginative. It calls for a change in the law (as planned by Wales), so that smoking in hospital grounds becomes a crime.
The trust is now urging local MPs and councillors to support a campaign for a change in the law to make all hospitals and grounds fully no-smoking areas.In the midst of staffing crises, the trust is actually lobbying for a law to dictate how to treat smokers on its own premises. It has already dispensed with plans for shelters.
Chief executive John Saxby said it was incredibly difficult to enforce no smoking on hospital grounds.
He said: "We certainly do not wish to place our staff at risk of potential abuse or injury when tackling the very emotive issue of people smoking at hospital entrances or in hospital grounds."Splendid pass-buckery. Bans are fantastic as long as 'our staff' don't have to enforce them.
Such a ban would mean that anyone attending Pennine Acute Trust property, whether in the capacity of patient, visitor, staff, contractor of any kind, will be breaking the law by smoking on the premises, even outdoors – all for the sake proving how hot the Trust is on health issues. This Trust has no scruples about making patients 'take their drip and stand at the bus station'.
Breaking the law for smoking outdoors – regardless of circumstances concerning personal mobility, state of mind or anything else: was that in anyone's manifesto last May? Leaving Pennine Acute Trust powerless to exercise discretion or compassion under any circumstances?
Pennine Acute Trust should be careful what it wishes for. So should anyone lobbying in support of its aims.