6 January 2014
By Bryan T. Smyth
Bantry General Hospital (BGH) will become a smoke-free campus from today, meaning smoking will not be permitted anywhere on the general hospital grounds.
The introduction of this new policy, which is supported by the hospital’s Executive Management Board, will apply to all staff, patients, visitors and contractors ensuring a healthier, safer and cleaner environment for all and better health outcomes for patients. Several hospitals including Cork University Hospital have successfully implemented the policy in recent years with other hospitals such as Mallow General Hospital and Kerry General Hospital also going smoke free today.
A recent staff and patient survey conducted at BGH identified that 85% of patients and 71% of staff (including smokers) were supportive of BGH becoming a Smoke-Free Campus.
Dr. Brian Carey, Consultant Geriatrician at BGH said, “Introducing the Smoke Free Campus policy in Bantry General Hospital provides an environment that promotes health and supports those who want to stop smoking. The facts are indisputable when it comes to the health gains; giving up smoking greatly improves a patient’s recovery.”
Jackie Daly, Hospital Manager outlines how as a significant provider of health care in the West Cork region the Hospital is taking its responsibility around health promotion and illness prevention very seriously, “Hospitals and health systems, both nationally and internationally, are working to encourage patients to adopt healthier tobacco free lifestyles in order to decrease the incidence of smoking related disease. Providing a smoke free environment sends a clear message that this hospital is committed to protecting and promoting the health of our patients, staff and all who visit our hospital.”
Hospital staff in partnership with Health Promotion staff in West Cork will be informing all patients in the coming weeks of the new policy in advance of their admission to the hospital. Patients who smoke will be offered free nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) during their hospital stay. Smoking cessation awareness sessions are ongoing and will continue with staff at the Hospital as well as training on the use of NRT. Patients can also be referred to the free HSE Smoking Cessation Service.
Maureen Minihane, Director of Nursing at Bantry General Hospital said, “While we are all very conscious of the addiction that smoking has on people, I want to re-assure our staff and patients that we are not telling anyone that they must stop smoking, but we are asking people not to smoke in our hospital during their stay. Stopping smoking at any age, is a very difficult task, but we will provide both staff and patients with all the help they need to quit smoking while they are in our Hospital. The single most important thing a person can do to improve their health is to stop smoking and we are very pleased to be able to provide such an environment in Bantry General Hospital. We will support anyone who wishes to do that.”