Smokers could be fined for lighting up outside district’s hospitals

Smoking
Smoking

Smokers could soon be fined for lighting up outside Pinderfields and Pontefract hospitals.

Wakefield Council is considering introducing a byelaw which would stop hospital staff, patients and visitors from using cigarettes near the main entrances.

Although smoking on both sites is discouraged by the Mid Yorkshire NHS Hospitals Trust, which runs both hospitals and another in Dewsbury, no outright ban is currently enforced.

It has been revealed that sound systems are being introduced outside the trust’s hospitals, which will relay information about stop smoking services to anyone caught around the entrances.

At a meeting of the trust board, chairman Jules Preston said he verbally discourages individuals he sees lighting up at Pinderfields.

He said: “You don’t see as many (people smoking) as you used to, though when I was in work last Friday I was surprised by how many there were.

“Sometimes you get abuse for mentioning it and sometimes people say, “yeah you’re right”.

“I’ve had a letter recently from the local authority who want to introduce a byelaw to say there should be no smoking in hospital grounds, which would give us the legal backing we need.

“Whether or not that law is introduced is another thing.”

Although councils have powers to introduce laws at a local level in some areas of policy, government guidance says they should only be used as a “last resort”.

A spokesperson for the local authority said: “The council is working with Mid Yorkshire NHS Hospitals Trust to look at a range of measures to encourage people to not smoke outside the main entrance and reduce the harm caused by second-hand smoke as well encouraging smokers to quit.

“Considering the introduction of a byelaw may be just one potential option.”

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