The days of patients dressed in slippers and nightgown, shivering outside the hospital’s front porch as they shield a flickering flame from the wind, in order to light their cigarette, are gone. Thanks to a new policy brought in by the HSE, as of November 1, Cavan General Hospital, Monaghan Hospital and all HSE Health Care Facilities in Cavan and Monaghan became ‘Tobacco Free Campuses’.
The introduction of this new policy means that it is no longer permitted to smoke anywhere within these hospital or health care facilities grounds or campuses, including in vehicles parked on these campuses. The policy applies to all staff, patients, visitors, contractors and aims to ensure a healthier environment in the locations.
To reenforce the point that hospital grounds are out of bounds for lighting up, the smokers’ shelter outside Cavan General has been transformed into a bike shed.
The ‘tobacco free campus’ policy is already in place at many hospitals around the country including Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital in Drogheda, Connolly Hospital in Blanchardstown, the Mater Hospital and Cork University Hospital. Smoking was also banned at the three maternity hospitals in Dublin as of last Friday.
The HSE had set a target of introducing the policy at all health campuses by 2015. Dr Patrick Doorley, chair of the National Tobacco Free Implementation Group said that the move was part of a wider initiative to make smoking less commonplace.
“A key element in reducing the number of people who smoke is to denormalise smoking in our society. Initiatives such as the Tobacco Free Campus Initiative launched today play an important role in achieving this. In particular it assists in discouraging our children and young people from starting to smoke,” said Dr Doorley.
Dr James Hayes, chair of the Tobacco Free Campus Committee stressed that the move was prompted by the damage to health caused by smoking.
“Smoking is the single biggest cause of ill-health and death in our society,” said Dr Hayes, who is also the clinical director of Cavan Monaghan Hospital. “By introducing this new policy we are sending out a clear message that we are committed to protecting and promoting the health of our patients, staff and all who visit our hospitals and health care facilities. The facts are indisputable when it comes to the health gains; giving up smoking greatly improves the chances of a patients’ recovery. Research shows that non-smokers, or those who quit smoking before or after surgery, have much better wound healing and recover faster.”
The annual digital subscription of the Anglo Celt is 60% cheaper than an annual postal subscription. Click here to subscribe-it's a great gift.