Sick patients ‘wheeled out for cigarette’

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Hospital visitors in South Holland are welcoming calls for smoking in the grounds to be banned – including one who saw “sick patients being wheeled out for a cigarette”.

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) has said staff should stop helping patients out of their beds to go for a smoke.

It has also stated that patients who smoke should be identified and given help to quit.

The hospitals serving south Lincolnshire residents include the Johnson Community Hospital in Spalding, Pilgrim Hospital in Boston and Peterborough and Stamford Hospitals.

We asked Spalding Guardian readers on Facebook what they thought.

Louie Kendall said: “No smoking means no smoking.

“If you’re on a no smoking site then the whole area should be no smoking.

“When I was visiting my mother there were sick patients being wheeled out for a cigarette.

“It just seems so wrong.”

Lizzy English said: “I agree with the smoking ban as the NHS spends millions on smoking-related diseases.

“It seems wrong to encourage it on their grounds.”

The majority of local hospitals have designated smoking shelters away from the entrance and offer support to quit smoking, including the Phoenix Stop Smoking Service.

Sue Cousland, chief nurse and director of operations at Lincolnshire Community Health Services NHS Trust which runs the Johnson Community Hospital, said: “The health and wellbeing of patients, staff and visitors is very important to us.

“Our staff are already very committed to the Making Every Contact Count initiative, which encourages everyone to think about healthier lifestyle choices.”

A spokesman for the United Lincolnshire Hospitals NHS Trust which runs Pilgrim Hospital, said: “We have a smoke free policy which we encourage all staff to implement across the organisation.”

Smoking is already banned in all parts of Peterborough City Hospital, except two designated smoking shelters, and Stamford Hospital.

A spokesman from the hospitals’ NHS Foundation Trust said: “This policy applies to our staff as well as patients and visitors.”