Staff and patients at a hospital in Yorkshire are being urged via tannoy to heed advice not to smoke while outside its buildings, to coincide with the annual charity-led Stoptober event.
Recorded messages asking smokers to support the aim of creating a smoke free environment by putting out their cigarettes are currently being broadcast outside Pinderfields Hospital in Wakefield.
“It’s vital we take every possible step to discourage smoking”
Staff, visitors and patients can now push a blue button to activate one of nine pre-recorded messages, which are played via a loud speaker outside the hospital entrance where smoking is a prevalent problem.
The crackdown, by the Mid Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust, which runs the hospital, comes after a no smoking policy across all of its sites was introduced back in March this year.
The trust said “no smoking” signs put up across its estate had failed to deter all smokers from lighting up around hospital entrances, including areas where ambulances are dropping off patients.
Iain Brodie, general manager of facilities at Mid Yorkshire Hospitals, said: “If a member of the public or staff sees someone smoking, they can press a button in the main reception to activate a voice message.”
The message “can be heard loud and clear, outside the main Pinderfields Hospital entrance asking smokers to extinguish their cigarettes”, he added.
“We’ve introduced the system, because it’s vital we take every possible step to discourage smoking,” said Mr Brodie.
“Patients and visitors, including new born babies and those arriving by ambulance, often have to pass through cigarette smoke at our hospital entrances, which is totally unacceptable,” he noted.
He stated: “Our goal is to have smoke free sites, and the ability to broadcast these messages is a crucial step towards this.
Mr Brodie highlighted that the government had set a target for smoking rates, which was outlined in the tobacco control plan for England, to be 12% or less by the end of 2022.
“The current smoking rates within Wakefield are 17.9% and we are trying to encourage smokers to join the non-smokers,” he said.
The Trust first announced its intention to make its hospitals smoke free back in 2017 and rolled out its smoke free policy in March this year.
Tannoy loudspeaker Mid Yorkshire smoking