Cardiff and Vale University Health Board is committed to the health and wellbeing of its staff, patients and visitors. Smoking on hospital sites is a major problem for patients who are already very ill or vulnerable as they are exposed to harmful second-hand smoke. A number of measures have been implemented to reduce smoking across all hospital sites but people smoking on site is an ongoing challenge.
Since January 2018, the UHB has employed a No Smoking and Waste Enforcement Officer in partnership with Cardiff Council. The officer patrols the sites of University Hospital of Wales and University Hospital Llandough to discourage smoking and is able to issue Fixed Penalty notices to those dropping litter which includes cigarette waste. Despite the patrols smokers continue to smoke outside the maternity department exposing pregnant women and new born babies to second hand smoke.
In a continuing attempt to discourage people from smoking on our sites, the Cardiff and Vale UHB Local Public Health Team have collaborated with the Midwifery Unit at the University Hospital of Wales to install a loudspeaker outside the unit connected to a large, red button on the unit’s reception desk.
When pressed, the button causes the speaker to play one of four messages, which were recorded by children in both English and Welsh to make people think twice about the harm their smoking is potentially causing to others.
In its first 10 days in place, the button has been pressed over 230 times by staff and patients alike. Staff from the midwifery unit are reporting a huge improvement in the number of people smoking outside the unit, saying that they’re pregnant patients are welcoming not having to walk through smoke to enter the hospital.
Fiona Kinghorn, Executive Director of Public Health for Cardiff and Vale UHB, said, “Initiatives such as these send the message loud and clear that smoking on our hospital sites is not okay. Most people who visit our hospitals understand this and are respectful of our policy however there are some who needed to be reminded why such a policy is in place. This is all about keeping people well.
“Quitting smoking is the number one best thing that a person can do to improve their health but giving up will also improve the health of those around you as second-hand smoke is extremely harmful, especially to babies and young children.
“NHS Wales is proud to offer free stop smoking support through Help Me Quit, a service which people can access by calling 0800 085 2219. If you’re thinking about quitting, I’d seriously encourage you to give them a call – it could be the most important phone call you ever make!”
By taking this proactive approach to reduce smoking on its hospital site, Cardiff and Vale UHB is anticipating the ratification of the Public Health (Wales) Act 2017, which when passed into law, will make it illegal to smoke on hospital grounds.