Many uniformed NHS staff flout smoking law

Many uniformed NHS staff flout smoking law

Uniformed staff at many NHS hospitals continue to flout the smoking ban laws, new research has found.

Researchers at the University of Nottingham visited 15 different trusts in three English regions, 10 of which were acute trusts covering 17 different sites. They reported patients and visitors smoking at 94% of them and staff smoking at 35% on a daily basis, despite the introduction of smoke-free policies at all NHS Hospital Trusts.

The study was carried out to explore the challenges and impact faced by management in English NHS acute and mental health trusts.

Elena Ratschen, lead researcher, said: “While I was encouraged that trusts have made an effort to introduce comprehensive smoke-free policies, I was surprised about the lack of enforcement when I made the site visits. Smoking still appears to be the rule rather than the exception.”

Researchers in the School of Community Health Sciences at Nottingham called for better ways of supporting staff to engage effectively in enforcement, manage nicotine withdrawal and stop smoking on site.

Under the provisions of the Health Act 2006, NHS acute trusts had to become smoke-free by July 2007. Mental Health Trusts have been granted an additional year before all indoor smoking areas have to be removed.

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