Unions ready to fight hospital smoking ban

7:00am Saturday 12th September 2009

HOSPITAL unions are drawing up a battle plan to fight a smoking ban introduced earlier this year.

Staffside, a collaboration of Unison and Unite, says staff are unhappy with the move, which was brought in on July 1.

The ban is not legally enforceable but patients, visitors and staff are being asked to respect it.

Union members who staged a protest about the ban in June, say it infringes human rights and people should have a choice about smoking.

Harry Hanley, spokesman for Staffside, said: “We have always been against it and always will be.

“We still say it is an unfair ban and we are currently considering our options on how to tackle it.”

Hospital bosses say they are happy with how the ban is going, however they admitted this week they have no way of measuring whether or not it has been a success in getting people to stop smoking on site.

Heather Edwards, head of communications, said: “We are pleased with the progress so far. As with any attempt to change a culture it can take time to fully embed and we do realise it will take a while.

“Not everyone may stop smoking on the site, however, if even one person stops smoking as a result that is progress.

“If people feel there is less smoke around the entrances, that is progress. And if more people are aware that this hospital is promoting healthy lifestyles to local people that is progress too.”

New, bigger, signs declaring the site smokefree have gone up at the entrances to buildings and work is ongoing to ensure patients are aware of the ban before they reach hospital.

Health chiefs announced in February that the hospital would become a smoke-free site this summer, in a bid to promote better health among Bolton’s residents. Bolton Stop Smoking Service can be contacted on 01204 462345.


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