Tuesday, 14 February 2012

NHS Borders attempts an outdoor smoking ban

This story is almost a month old.  It describes initiatives undertaken by NHS Borders to pursue more smoking cessation. One of those featured is a tobacco policy that bans smoking on NHS sites. The article reads:
Leading by example, NHS Borders recently approved a revised Tobacco Policy which aims to maximise health improvement for NHS Borders staff, service users and visitors by going beyond the legal requirements. 
The new policy prohibits smoking in the grounds of all the health board’s hospitals and surgeries, with only a few exceptions and harsh penalties for those who don’t comply. 
Under the Public Health Scotland Regulations 2006, failure to comply with the policy is a criminal offence. Individuals may be fined a fixed penalty of £50 for smoking in any no-smoking premises. The manager or person in control of any no-smoking premises could be fined a fixed penalty of £200 ...
 Am I missing something or is this nonsense? If a policy exceeds legal requirements, how can it be against the law to breach it?

You can access contact details for the Board of NHS Borders here.


Eddie Douthwaite said...

The situation is made clear in CEL 01-(2012) dated 16 January 2012 and signed by Sir Harry Burns, Chief Medical Officer for Scotland.


Action: To commit to the development and implementation of more comprehensive organisational tobacco policies. Wherever possible, consideration should be given to going beyond current legal requirements and moving towards the goal of being completely smoke-free.

Outcome: An increase in the number of NHS premises moving towards becoming completely smoke-free.

Example in practice:
NHS Tayside was one of the first health boards in Scotland to prohibit smoking across all sites, even to the extent of asking people not to smoke in their private vehicles in car parks. This approach goes beyond the national legislation. For example, at Dundee's Ninewells Hospital Out-Patients, visitors, staff, contractors and students must leave the grounds to smoke. Hospital in-patients can smoke in designated external smoking areas only. There are exemptions, such as Adult Hospices, Psychiatric In-patient Hospitals and Units."

Belinda said...

The mental health aspect is touched on in this story Eddie, where the CEO says “Our mental health in-patients units have made a significant step forward by agreeing with stakeholders that smoking will be allowed within external designated areas only.”

I wonder which 'stakeholders' they would be.

Anonymous said...

I am curious to know when hospitals gained legal control of the open air.

jredheadgirl said...

"If a policy exceeds legal requirements, how can it be against the law to breach it?"

Good question Belinda!