HOSPITAL bosses are working with public health chiefs to stub out smoking at entrances to the Royal Bolton.

Bolton NHS Foundation Trust — which runs the Royal Bolton Hospital — made a dramatic U-turn when it decided not to build smoking shelters last month.

Bosses had held a public vote on whether to build three shelters in a bid to stop people smoking at entrances.

It saw 1,629 people vote in favour of the shelters and 1,580 people.

But furious reaction from council and health bosses and the public prompted a U-turn and now hospital chiefs say they will work with Public Health to come up with a new strategy.

Dr Jackie Bene, medical director at Bolton NHS Foundation Trust, said: “We have issues with smoking on hospital premises. The real issue is not being able to stop everybody smoking all the time and hanging around the entrances.

“Public health will hopefully be able to provide us with examples of other places where they have enforced the no-smoking rule.

“Then we will have a number of options. It will probably be down to some sort of enforcement. At the moment we rely on staff to enforce it. We need to come up with something and Public Health are the right people to help us.”

Although smoking in the hospital grounds is prohibited, it is virtually impossible to enforce, as it is not underpinned by the law.

Trish Armstrong Child, director of nursing, said any enforcement of the smoking ban will eat up resources.

She added: “Stopping people smoking by the entrance can only be done by physically manning the area.

“If David Cameron or Will and Kate were taking their baby through that entrance we would put something in place to make sure there were no smokers there. Whatever we do, it will be resource-intensive.

“There’s no other way around it.”

The trust faced a double backlash when it emerged the smoking shelters had been bought weeks before the public vote.

Hospital chiefs say the shelters will not be built as smoking facilities but would be put to another use within the hospital site.