Royal Bolton Hospital security guards trained to move smokers away from main entrances
SECURITY guards at the Royal Bolton Hospital have been trained to move on smokers who light up near the main entrances — and advise them on how to quit.
They will hand out leaflets about stop smoking services.
Bolton NHS Foundation Trust — which runs the Royal Bolton Hospital — made a dramatic U-turn when it decided not to build smoking shelters in June.
Bosses had held a public vote on whether to build three shelters in a bid to stop people smoking at entrances, with 1,629 people voting in favour of the shelters and 1,580 people against.
The decision to build the shelters caused so much controversy, hospital chiefs decided to scrap the plans and try a different strategy.
Now, the hospital will run a three- week pilot to test out their new approach starting on November 11.
Acting chief executive of the Bolton NHS Foundation Trust, Jackie Bene, said: “We want to do as much as we can to stop people smoking around the hospital entrances. Our policy is that smoking is not allowed on site.
“What we have decided to do is train security staff to offer people smoking cessation advice and ask them to stop smoking around the entrance.
“It’s unpleasant for patients and visitors walking into the hospital.”
Yet critics of the new plans say it is not for security staff to enforce the no smoking policy.
Harry Hanley, Secretary of Staff Side at the hospital, which represents employees, said: “I don’t think the security staff will be very happy about this because it’s not really in their job description.
“There was a vote to install smoking shelters and people voted in favour of them. At least the shelters would have taken smokers away from the entrances.
“I’m a smoker myself and I find it unpleasant walking through the cloud of smoke at the entrances. The thing is, you never see senior management challenging smokers at the entrance. Why should it be down to security staff?”
Public Health Bolton, now based with the council, has offered the trust advice on the best way to help people quit smoking.
A council spokesman said: “The council has responsibility for promoting and encouraging healthier lifestyles and is determined to reduce the number of smoking related deaths in the borough. We fully support efforts by individuals to stop smoking and organisations that aim to discourage smoking by ensuring they have access to Stop Smoking Services.
“The public health team has been providing support and guidance to the Foundation Trust in implementing their no smoking policy within the grounds of the hospital. There will be smoking cessation information available if individuals require advice and support in stopping smoking.”
Hospital bosses had already bought the three smoking shelters they planned to install.
Two of the smoking shelters have been sold at their original price of £1,200 each and the other will be used as a shelter for the pay and display machine, if planning permission is granted by the council.
Smoking is banned at the Royal Bolton Hospital but cannot be enforced by law.
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