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Staff divided on hospital smoking ban

The Royal United Bath Hospital is to ban smoking throughout its grounds by the end of the year.

Nothing unusual in that. But here's the interesting bit. According to a local report:

A survey showed that staff are divided on the issue.

49 per cent thought the RUH should go smoke free, while 49 per cent thought it should be permitted in some capacity.


Some 90 per cent of smokers thought that smoking should be allowed.

Despite that the ban will go ahead, although managers are very open about the challenges they will face – notably enforcement and complaints from local residents:

James Scott, the trust’s chief executive, said: "This is a significant challenge for us and every hospital I've ever been in, including abroad.

"Don't think this is an NHS problem.

"We will be forcing smokers off-site - that's our patients and staff.

"The consequence is we will get more and more complaints from our neighbours.

"That's what's happened every time we've done this in the past.

"Legally, provided staff are outside our curtilage, they can smoke.

"There's nothing we can do about that, other than be aware about the increased risk of complaints.

Needless to say the issues of enforcement and annoying the neighbours could be easily avoided by creating a designated smoking area in the grounds of the hospital.

Instead they've chosen to pass the problem on to local residents who may find strangers loitering outside their homes at all times of the day and night.

The report adds that 'patients, visitors or residents have not yet been consulted but this is planned for later in the year'.

Am I missing something? Why consult patients, visitors and residents after the decision has already been made?

Either way the policy is doomed to fail. I know that, you know that and, judging by his comments, the chief executive of the Royal United Bath Hospital knows it too.

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Reader Comments (7)

"We will be forcing smokers off-site - that's our patients and staff."

How very compassionate. He's another one I would like to nominate for the Bully of the year if such a sub-category can be added to the sweet sounding Nanny of the Year award.

Meanwhile, if smokers are to be forced away from the very hospitals they pay far more for than anyone else, can we please have a rebate on the tax we have paid over decades and not had anything back for except exclusion, bullying and abuse.

Friday, June 1, 2018 at 12:01 | Unregistered CommenterPat Nurse

Don't they have a duty of care to all staff and patients including smokers? Forcing people off site to unlit insecure areas, particularly at night, is going to pose a risk to Health & Safety which is potentially more severe than "second hand smoke". It's a nasty and mean-spirited idea but par for the course these days.

Friday, June 1, 2018 at 12:48 | Unregistered CommenterJonT


I feel like I am repeating myself again, out of all these reports from the media and elsewhere, not one person or reporter mentions the fact that in England it is not illegal to smoke outside the hospital or schools etc therefore if any person attempts to force you out of these grounds because you are having a smoke or vape, they are the people who are committing the offence of assault. The hospital and school personnel/authorities can post all the signs they like, however it is these signs that are not mandatory as smoking outside is legal. It is about time someone reminded these bullying authorities they are the ones who are repeating untruths in the age old hope that everyone will believe these false statements of theirs

Friday, June 1, 2018 at 15:04 | Unregistered CommenterDavid Kerr

The Royal United Bath Hospitals is a foundation trust. See how it is governed here
particularly pages 5-8. Perhaps someone who understands NHS trusts can tell us whether the ban may have been implemented without the agreement of the chief executive?

Friday, June 1, 2018 at 15:08 | Unregistered CommenterJonathan Bagley

It's interesting to note the lack of prior consultation for the imposition of this ban. This clearly demonstrates what used to be called 'tyranny' as an elite from above imposes its will and then holds a pro forma 'consultation' to create the perception of democracy. Of course, 'in matters of health' the tobacco controllers like ASH maintain the public has no right of consultation which considering the lack of evidence of an actual health threat from second hand smoke is another reflection of this totalitarian domination.

Friday, June 1, 2018 at 19:02 | Unregistered CommenterVinny Gracchus

David Kerr, as Ireland and Wales have shown, what is not legal now is only a matter of changing the law on a whim and a fancy of one smokerphobic politician in the pocket of the anti smoker industry wthout any scrutiny or debate.

What is legal can easily be made illegal so it may be a defence for now if not for long.

Smokers need protection in law but we are the only minority where law is used against us to socially exclude and discriminate.

Saturday, June 2, 2018 at 9:08 | Unregistered CommenterPat Nurse


You are correct in your statement, however until this happens all smokers should use this as it is still legal, we as smokers have lent over backwards to be lawful citizens to a Puritan minority who have unfortunately frightened our politicians into carrying out their views , of course our politicians are easily led, I have seen a shopping trolley with more gumption to make its own mind up. If we carry on obeying people who state lies and innuendo then as you well know the vast majority of the sheep will start believing these lies. It has happened throughout history, which unfortunately they stopped teaching in schools a generation ago. I can only hope that someone in authority becomes more like a shopping trolly and makes their own mind up and sees sense before as you say we will be criminalised

Saturday, June 2, 2018 at 13:07 | Unregistered CommenterDavid Kerr

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