Cigarette ban affects new-borns

Dave Stewart at the new wing of the Victoria Hospital
Dave Stewart at the new wing of the Victoria Hospital

CONCERNS have been raised over people smoking at the entrances to Victoria Hospital after fumes found their way into the maternity unit through the windows above.

The matter was raised at NHS Fife’s operations division meeting yesterday (Wednesday) and it’s a problem which has been raised on more than one occasion before.

Moira Adams, non executive member, brought the issue to the table asking if a smoking shelter could be provided to deter people from standing at the doors.

She said: “I was speaking to Cath Cummings in the maternity wing and was horrified to hear smoke is coming up right into the maternity unit where new born babies are gasping their first breaths.

“Can we not provide somewhere people can go and smoke so when windows are open it’s not going to go in somewhere.

“I’m not saying it’s an easy problem to solve, but everyone is talking about it and acknowledging it’s a problem, so can we not try and address the problem of smoke going up into the maternity unit.”

Dave Stewart, chairman of the operations division, said: “I share your concerns but there’s no simple answer to it.

“I have raised it with MSPs about smoking on acute hospital sites. The response was I should provide smoking shelters.

“What I wanted was for MSPs to pass legislation on smoking in acute hospital sites.

“There is no simple answer, I wish there was. It’s not really our decision, it’s a board decision.

“It really annoys me when patients come down in dressing gowns and stand at the door smoking.

“It’s worse when they stand under the canopy when there’s a smoking bin 20 yards away and drop their cigarette ends on the ground.

“It’s not just patients, it’s visitors too.

“If you go out there between 2.00 p.m and 4.00 p.m there are more folk out there smoking than at Stark’s Park on a Saturday afternoon.”

Jim Leiper, director of estates and facilities, said: “The Board’s policy is the sites are non smoking.

“If you want to put in a shelter that’s a matter of decision for the board.

“No one likes it and people are challenged. Some of them recognise what you are saying and extinguish their cigarette, but others just completely ignore you.

“We can ask but it’s impossible to enforce it.”