Barnsley Hospital is going smokefree across its entire site – starting from the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) ‘World No Tobacco Day’ on Friday May 31.

From that date, it will no longer be permitted to smoke within any area of Barnsley Hospital. Patients and visitors choosing to smoke on site will be challenged by hospital staff and the security team. They will be advised they can no longer smoke on Trust premises and be offered advice and guidance on how to stop smoking.

The smoke-free hospital launch will be supported by a visit to the hospital from Barnsley Mayor Cllr Pauline Markham and there will be new specially designed smoke-free posters – featuring photos including a lung cancer patient and midwives. Information displays and new signage will be unveiled, particularly in the maternity department where there will be a focus on stopping smoking in pregnancy.

Trust Chief Executive Dr Richard Jenkins said:

“We’re asking for support from the public, our patients and staff in order to go completely smokefree by the end of this month.

“We know that smoking is the single greatest cause of preventable death, disability and illness, and it is therefore appropriate that we keep the hospital site smokefree and ask people not to smoke on site.

“One in two smokers die prematurely due to their smoking and whilst they are in hospital we have support to help them to break their addiction. We understand that some smokers in Barnsley may see us as ‘finger-wagging’ but what we are doing is very positive – it will save lives. Also, it fits in with the wider public health message which is ‘prevention is better than cure’.”

All smokers who are admitted as patients will be advised that the site is smokefree and as part of their hospital care and treatment they will be offered nicotine replacement therapy and referred to local stop smoking services. This is part of a regional smoke-free initiative called QUIT.

Dr Jenkins added:

“This is more than just having a smokefree site for patients and staff. For the first time we will see a cultural shift in the hospital‘s role in proactively supporting patients to quit smoking.

“Research shows that up to 25 per cent of patients in our hospitals smoke and they actually expect health professionals to raise the issue with them. Supporting them with nicotine replacement medication means they are much more likely to quit for good.”

Dr Andy Snell, Barnsley’s Public Health Consultant, said:

“Barnsley Hospital is stepping up to do more to reduce the harm from tobacco, and the QUIT campaign will build on the progress made across the area by the local authority. We are not the first organisation in Barnsley to go smokefree – schools and other public places have successfully done it and the hospital is the latest. We now all need to work together to make sure this becomes embedded in everyday care at the hospital.”