Saturday, 23 April 2011

Greenock Telegraph's sketchy reporting of smoking ban problem

On learning from an outraged employee that Inverclyde Royal Hospital regularly sees smokers in its grounds, Greenock Telegraph reporters went 'straight to the health board chiefs'. There they learned more of what hospital trusts have been discovering up and down the country – that bans are not enforceable. Staff can be forced by contractual obligations to comply with rules (although how many of them will have been issued with new contracts outlining a complete ban on smoking on the premises – perhaps the threat of disciplinary action has been enough). But visitors and patients cannot be policed in the same way.

End of investigation. The story is that people are breaking the rules, and this version doesn't so much as attempt to understand these people's point of view. It's an old story, and has been a running sore on hospital premises for years now.

The absurd situation of people hanging about smoking in hospital doorways, obstructing entrances and upsetting people who have been frightened by passive smoking myths, has persisted for too long. The public has demonstrated its contempt for outdoor bans in hospitals everywhere. Health boards should insist on allowing the creation of proper, weather-proof shelters for people who need to smoke during their visit to hospital, whether as patients or visitors.  They should complain for a change in the law. Staff should not be prevented from smoking in their break times either.

And the Greenock Telegraph should also get its act together. Since people have not stopped smoking in hospital grounds since the ruling came in, it shouldn't be difficult to find one offender who is prepared to give his or her view of the issue. No smokers were interviewed. No staff who have been successfully restricted from smoking were interviewed (have they been banned from speaking to the press?)

Nul points.


Anonymous said...

This was probably a story set up using the anti-smoking guidelines for getting a story in the press.

Anonymous said...

This was probably a story set up using the anti-smoking guidelines for getting a story in the press.


Funny you should say that. I was online a few months back at a website devoted to how Hitler and his government operated. Here there is bonafide proof that he used to send out a special book to newspaper and magazine editors that told just how to handle the news and tell the stories in such a way as to constantly remain in conformity with the ruling party's line of propaganda. This book was so secret and so special that editors used to keep them locked up in their offices so that nobody else on staff would know where they were getting their directives from on how to have stories written in the particular manner in which they did. There are copies of those books since found and it is historical fact, the German Nazis were especially good in coordinating all the press to keep everything in total conformity with the overall propaganda themes.

Nowadays of course it would be anti-smoking handled the same way.

Anonymous said...

The instructions are all here, just click on the link to the media briefing for the Lothians shown in this previous post.

They also support what they call local alliances. The thoroughness of their briefings must be considered in light of their 27 staff (just take a look at their media briefing for the Lothians).