If NICE had its way there would be no smoking “in gowns or grounds” as some of the media have called it. We stepped closer to that this week with the announcement there would now be a complete hospital smoking ban in Wales. A full smoking ban was this week given the go-head in Cardiff and the Vale of Glamorgan, the last board to implement a ban.
Why the delay? According to a health board spokesperson the Board was aware patients and visitors would have to be supported when a ban came into effect.
The Board has taken the view smokers need the same level of support as other addicts. The plan is for patients to be supported by the health board's smoking cessation service. What does this mean in practice? The board favours nicotine therapy so replacement patches will be offered to patients during their stay. E-cigarettes are not being offered as the board has doubts over their effectiveness.
Prior to the ban being given the go-head staff at the health board were already banned from smoking in the hospital and grounds, while outdoor patient smoking shelters were still in use. Dr Sharon Hopkins, Public Health Director of Cardiff and Vale University Health Board, believes a total ban is ultimately more likely to get people to reduce the amount of cigarettes they smoke and possibly go on to give up.
It seems that this health board delayed the introduction of a ban until they felt they had got a workable solution. The plans were 18 months in the pipeline, working out how best to give smokers the help they need when in hospital. The ban also follows on from April’s announcement NICE is consulting on a new guidance on a total ban on smoking including recommending NHS staff don’t smoke in any situations where they can be identified as such. NICE is known to favour a “no concessions” approach yet also advocates providing smokers with patches or gum. Any new guidance would not have the force of law, but does mirror, we think, the general direction the NHS is travelling in.
(Resource: BBC News)