Dad blasts Vic for smoke problems

Steven wants more done to encourage people to leave the grounds before lighting up
Steven wants more done to encourage people to leave the grounds before lighting up

A dad of two from Levenmouth has called for more to be done at Victoria Hospital to discourage people from smoking on the grounds.

Steven Watt, who has a business in Kirkcaldy, was a visitor at the hospital earlier this month while his wife gave birth to their second child.

But he said the visit was marred by the fact that he had to take his newborn daughter through a plume of smoke in order to leave the building.

“I noticed the problem at the pre-natal appointments, and the smoke from people smoking at the bus stop outside the maternity unit was just wafting right in through the doors and windows.”

And his attempts to encourage those smoking at the doors to move further away from the building were met with unwillingness.

“I did say ‘I don’t mind if you want to smoke, but do you mind not doing it around my child? But they just refused. If people want to do that, I’m not going to stop them, but at least give my child a fighting start in the beginning instead of us having to take her home through a cloud of smoke.”

Steven added: “The hospital obviously takes pride in the fact it is meant to be a smoke free area because they have big yellow signs up everywhere.

“But it is just a waste of money because people are smoking right at the doors and right next to the signs.”

Steven told the Mail he had questioned the issue with staff in the hospital, and was told it was an on-going problem which they were finding hard to control.

He said he was told a car park attendant had been asked to encourage those smoking to wait until they had left, but this stopped after they encountered intimidation.

On April 1, 2015, the Scottish Government declared that all hospitals, health centres and other NHS buildings would be smoke free zones, with smokers having to wait until they were completely off the premises to light up.

However, smoking within hospital grounds is not yet a statutory offence - this is set to change as part of the Public Health Bill later this year - and all NHS authorities can do is encourage people not to do it.

Dr Edward Coyle, NHS Fife director of public health, said as well as taking part in the national campaign, the NHS Fife board had also launched ‘A Place to be Smokefree’, a campaign which saw the yellow signs installed and which was widely promoted.

“Whilst we continue to take steps to raise awareness of our no-smoking message, we recognise that people continue to smoke on our sites,” he said.

“Whilst this is frustrating for many visitors and patients, we are working hard to change attitudes and reinforce the message that smoking on hospital grounds is unacceptable. Such a cultural change cannot be achieved overnight, however, we are committed to taking every reasonable action to improve our environment for patients, staff and visitors, and we thank the public for their support and cooperation as we work towards this end.”