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Hospital security abused by smokers

18th March 2009

North Wales NHS Trust has said their security staff are subject to "daily abuse" when they request that people who smoke move from hospital grounds.

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The trust said it was recording 3,000 events annually where staff were verbally abused at its hospitals.

Current trust rules advise against smoking on hospital property but smokers are not breaking the law if they smoke there.

Steve Jones, security manager at Ysbyty Glan Clwyd in Bodelwyddan, Denbighshire, said some smokers acted aggressively to security staff.

"Patients, relatives and visitors can become verbally aggressive to staff when politely asked to move away from buildings to smoke elsewhere."

"The usual reply is 'Why?' or 'What are you going to do about it?'"

He added that staff had received training in resolving arguments and they were told to explain to smokers in a polite and professional way that the hospital was a no-smoking zone.

Dr Nick Clerk, a consultant of obstetrics and gynaecology, said the issue needed to be tackled.

"It is a shame to see pregnant mothers, and newly born babies, children attending the paediatrics department, patients arriving by ambulance as well as staff and visitors wading through cigarette smoke to access or exit the building."

The trust's spokesperson said if staff continued to face abuse then it would open discussions with the Welsh Assembly Government to find out what else it could do.

 

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