Dr Hilary Jones.jpgDr Hilary Jones has given his support to Hampshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust’s plans to go smoke-free.

From October 1, no smoking will be allowed on the grounds of any of the Trust’s hospital sites, Andover War Memorial Hospital, Basingstoke and North Hampshire Hospital and Royal Hampshire County Hospital, in Winchester.

The move will help to make sure that patients, visitors and staff are not exposed to cigarette smoke on their way into and out of hospital.

Dr Hilary, who is health editor on ITV breakfast shows Good Morning Britain and Lorraine, used to work at Basingstoke and North Hampshire Hospital. He has given his backing to the policy, which supports a commitment to smoke-free sites made in the NHS Five Year Forward View and is something that Public Health England also endorses.

“Quitting smoking is the single most significant step that people can take to maintain good health,” Dr Hilary said. “It is absolutely right that hospitals, which are kept so busy treating patients suffering from the consequences of smoking, are healthy, clean, healing environments for everyone who visits, and which set an example of the benefits of being smoke-free.

“I welcome Hampshire Hospitals’ refreshing policy on this and have no doubt it will reinforce the positive and supportive messages that its dedicated staff are already sharing with their patients.” 

Smoking costs the NHS an estimated £2billion a year, but the cost to society could be as much as £13.8billion each year. It also causes almost 80,000 premature deaths every year, and contributes to 1.7million hospital admissions.

After listening to the concerns of patients, visitors and staff, vaping and e-cigarettes will continue to be allowed to be used in outdoor spaces, away from entrances and windows.

The Trust will be providing lots of additional support to help patients, staff and visitors stop smoking as part of the programme, so it is hoped that the initiative will also help to reduce smoking.

Alex Whitfield, chief executive of Hampshire Hospitals, added: “Our drive to become smoke-free coincides with the start of Stoptober, Public Health England’s annual stop smoking event.

“We highly recommend the Hampshire stop smoking service for smokers who would like some help to give up. The service has helped thousands of Hampshire residents to stop smoking in the last year. Visit www.quit4life.nhs.uk for more information.”

More information about Hampshire Hospitals’ smoking policy can be found at www.hampshirehospitals.nhs.uk/patients-visitors/coming-hospital/smoking-policy.