By SEHERISH MAHMOOD
Tracy Brabin MP is calling on the Government to ban smoking in hospital grounds in a bid to ‘create a more pleasant, healthier experience’ for NHS staff, patients and visitors.
The Batley and Spen MP made the proposal in the form of a Ten Minute Rule bill in the House of Commons where she set out her case for new legislation designed to back NHS Trusts to create smoke-free environments.
It comes after reports from staff and patients at Mid Yorkshire Trust, which runs Dewsbury and Pinderfields Hospitals, highlighting the serious impact smoking around entrances and exits is having on staff and patients. And while smoking is prohibited in some areas within NHS Trusts, the legislation for hospitals to go fully smoke-free is not in place.
Now Ms Brabin is calling on the Government to follow the example of the devolved administrations of Wales and Scotland, both of which are passing legislation on the issue.
Batley and Spen MP Tracy Brabin said: “It is clear from my discussions with Mid Yorkshire Trust that the impact of smoking in hospital grounds goes beyond an unpleasant odour at the entrance.
“We have a neonatal unit, caring for babies who may have breathing difficulties, but unable to open its windows because of the risks of second-hand smoke.
“Smokers can also cause congestion outside entrances and block access for less mobile or disabled visitors, while staff are routinely subjected to abuse for asking smokers stub it out and move elsewhere.
“Various pieces of legislation have been passed limiting where people can smoke, yet the very places we go to recover from our ills are sadly lagging behind.
“What I’m proposing to the Government today is not an attempt on my part to deny unwell people the ‘pleasure’ of a cigarette.
“I simply want to support our hospitals to make their grounds smoke-free to create a more pleasant, healthier experience for staff, patients and visitors alike.”