IT’S time for a fresh start.
That’s the message on smoking from Dave Stewart, chairman of NHS Fife’s operational division as the big day for moving into the new wing at Victoria Hospital draws closer.
Mr Stewart is urging patients, staff and visitors to keep the new building looking smart, and improve their health, by stubbing out cigarettes before coming anywhere near the hospital.
And he wants to see an end to the sight of people standing outside the entrance to Fife’s hospitals puffing away and leaving unsightly cigarette butts littering the pavements.
Mr Stewart said: “There is nothing worse than seeing people in dressing gowns, who are quite obviously there for medical treatment, puffing away on cigarettes.
‘‘We are a completely non-smoking site and all our buildings are covered by this policy, but we have generally turned a blind eye to people smoking.
‘’I think now is the right time for this to stop.
‘‘And I want to urge people to make a fresh start and help us to make this happen.
“It is quite ironic that it is more than likely smoking, drinking or drugs which has put these people in hospital in the first place, and we have to be more pro-active in addressing these issues in the health service.”
Mr Stewart’s comments came after a presentation on smoking cessation services to NHS Fife’s operational division committee last week, which revealed more work than ever was being done across the Kingdom to help people quit.
Initiatives include a pilot project underway in two wards at Victoria Hospital, where stop smoking advisors are provided with the names of smoker patients, allowing them to see if they want to stop.
Advisors can provide nicotine replacement therapy – patches, gum, inhalators – and arrange continued support while the patient is in hospital and follow-up when they leave.
“We have a beautiful new hospital which we will soon begin moving into and at each entrance there are canopies which I hope will not be used as a place for smokers to congregate in bad weather,” added Mr Stewart. “We did consider smoking shelters in the plans, but decided against it. There is help available to people.“