A mum has been forced to walk her premature baby through a “cloud of smoke” to get into Pilgrim Hospital – despite it being a smoke-free site.
United Lincolnshire Hospital’s Trust made all its sites, including Pilgrim, smoke-free in January – meaning smoking is not permitted in any of its buildings, grounds and vehicles. All designated smoking areas were also removed.
Posters and signs have gone up about the policy which aims to promote a healthy environment.
However people are still smoking in the grounds – even right next to the posters and signs in the main reception.
ULHT say the policy has resulted in a positive change, but admits it has more to do.
One mum, whose baby was born seven weeks early, attends Pilgrim regularly for appointments with her son who has Chronic Lung Disease.
She said: “My premature baby came home on oxygen, his lungs are vulnerable and I have to be careful to what he is exposed to, including passive smoke.
“I see people and hospital staff smoking around the main entrance to the hospital every time I come here – even after it became ‘smoke-free’.
“It’s not being enforced at all and I have no choice but to walk up to the building with people smoking around my baby. It is then the same when we come out and queue to pay for parking.
“The Trust is not doing enough to make the hospital smoke-free – the posters are pointless without proper enforcement.”
Another woman, who asked not to be named, said there should be more enforcement.
She said: “It’s ridiculous you have to walk through a cloud of smoke to get to an appointment.
“There’s clear signs stating that it’s a no smoking hospital and yet there are some members of staff who don’t pay any attention either.
“There’s nobody there to enforce it.
“It’s just pointless.
“I don’t want to be breathing in second-hand smoke.”
Lincolnshire Live spoke with a smoker at the hospital who criticised the policy as not being fair.
They said: “I know the hospital has no smoking on the site but why would I want to go and stand on the main road just to have a cigarette?
“They need somewhere on the site for us to go.”
Director of People and Organisational Development for ULHT, Martin Rayson said smokers are spoken to and given advice on how to quit the habit for good.
He said: “We became a Smoke-free Trust at the beginning of January, as part of our aspiration to provide a safer environment that promotes health and reduces harm from exposure to second-hand smoke.
“We want to develop a culture where smoking is viewed as unacceptable across our sites, and for this to be respected.
“Overall, we have seen a positive change since the new policy came in, with significantly fewer staff and patients smoking on our sites.
“However, we know there is more to do.
“In situations where an individual is breaching the smoke-free policy, that person may be approached by a member of staff who will remind them of our smoke-free status and signpost them to the appropriate smoking cessation support.
“In addition, we have invested significant resource into supporting our staff and patients to abstain from smoking during treatment by being offered nicotine replacement therapy in the form of patches and inhalators and will be offered a referral for ongoing support.”