Larbert hospital bosses are to get tough on smokers

Smokers will be told to stub it out on hospital grounds
Smokers will be told to stub it out on hospital grounds

Smokers will be encouraged to stub out when they visit Forth Valley Royal.

Hospital bosses are introducing a ban on anyone lighting up in the grounds of the showcase Larbert facility.

It comes as the Scottish Government announced that all hospital grounds have to be smoke-free within two years.

The move at FVRH follows complaints from patients, visitors and staff, about smokers congregating around the main entrance, the women and children’s unit entrance and mental health unit, as well as cigarette butts littering the ground.

Around 500 people surveyed called on the NHS to take a firmer stance.

Dr Anne Maree Wallace, public health director, said: “This ban will not only apply to outside areas, but will also mean people cannot sit in their cars on hospital grounds and smoke.

“The last thing we need is for people who are ill or visiting relatives to be met by a fug of smoke.

“Clear notices are displayed throughout our grounds asking people not to light up on NHS premises. Sadly, these have not been effective.”

NHS Forth Valley will now employ a control officer who, as well as telling people to stop smoking, will also encourage them to attend smoking cessation services.

Dr Wallace added: “Giving up smoking is one of the most important lifestyle decisions leading to better health.”

Announcing the ban at all hospitals by March 2015, Health Secretary Alex Neil said: “This Government has ambitious plans to reduce the number of people choosing to smoke.

“To this end, we want to build on the ban on smoking in public places, which was introduced seven years ago this week, by ensuring that our hospital grounds become smoke-free.”

NHS Forth Valley said it still had to evaluate the cost of the new control officer role but added the person appointed would also have to monitor and evaluate how successful the different methods used to encourage people to quit were.

Latest figures show that around 60,000 adults – around one in four – in Forth Valley are smokers. Most smokers in the Falkirk Council area are found in Bowhouse with 39.9 per cent, while the lowest rate is in Bantaskine at 16.8 per cent.

The highest prevalences is in the 25-34 age groups, although 12 per cent of 15 year olds and four per cent of 13 year olds admit to being regular smokers.

Statistics prove that people are more likely to stop smoking for at least a month if they use a combination of stop smoking services and products, rather than going it alone.

From January to December 2011 NHS staff in Forth Valley supported 719 men and 995 women to quit smoking.