UNISON generally welcomes the principle of introducing new measures to end the practice of smoking on hospital grounds. We agree that the current smoke free policies have had some impact but have not been sufficient to end the practice of smoking around hospital buildings. There is still a highly visible smoking presence particularly round doorways. While UNISON is positive about the aims of the proposals members do have some concerns regarding the detail and practicalities of enforcing any ban.
While members are very supportive of moves to make hospital grounds smoke free there is concern about what legislation creating an offence of “permitting smoking” could mean for them in terms of their own liability and what actions they would need to take to avoid the offence. There were also concerns about the impact on relationships with patients for those who work directly with them if staff have to stop patients or their families about smoking in the grounds. Not everyone would feel comfortable in talking to smokers about their behaviour. Staff are also extremely busy and often will not have time to deal with smokers. There needs to be clarity about just who would be responsible for dealing with those ignoring the ban and how they should be dealt with in order to make this work.
UNISON would therefore welcome specific guidance/detail ensure that the proposals are effective: