From November 1 Portlaoise hospital and grounds will be a complete tobacco free zone.
Smokers whether they are patients, staff or visitors, will have to stand outside the front gates of the hospital to get their fix, as smoking will be banned not just in the carpark, but in cars, doorways, bicycle shelters, or anywhere inside the entrance gates.
Nicotine replacement therapy will be offered to patients being admitted from November 1 onwards, and the hospital say they will be making efforts to inform every patient of the new policy before they are admitted. Patients can also be referred to the Hospital’s free Smoking Cessation Service.
Staff at the hospital have also been receiving support and advice on giving up cigarettes in the run up to the ban. A Health Promotion Week took place last month when staff were offered free screening for blood pressure, diabetes and cholestrol, while lunchtime talks dealt with the menopause and women’s and men’s health issues.
Stella Moran, Manager of Cuisle, the support service for cancer patients in Portlaoise, facilitated the lunchtime talks on women’s and men’s health.
The hospital’s Health Promotion Team are also giving ongoing smoking cessation support and advice to staff.
Mary Fitzpatrick, Assistant Hospital Manager said introducing the Smoke Free policy will support those who want to quit the habit.
“A lot of work is going into implementing this national policy and we are receiving support and encouragement from the staff. We are not telling anyone that they must stop smoking, but we are asking people not to smoke in our hospital,” she said.
Midlands Regional Hospital Portlaoise are following in the steps of other hospitals including St Vincent’s, the Mater, Waterford and Limerick Regional Hospitals and Galway University Hospital.
The policy is in keeping with the National Tobacco Control Framework and will ensure that Portlaoise maintains its status as a ‘Health Promoting Hospital’.
“Stopping smoking, at any age, is the single most important thing a person can do to improve their health and we are very pleased to be able to provide such an environment in Portlaoise Hospital that is supportive of anyone who wishes to do that.” Ms Fitzpatrick said.
For Help to quit smoking, call the National Smokers’ Quitline 1850 201 203, Visit www.quit.ie, Join www.facebook.com/HSEquit