The sight of a huddled group of smokers outside the entrance doors to St Luke’s Hospital is set to become a thing of the past, as stringent new rules are on the way to outlaw smoking on the hospital campus entirely.
Both St Luke’s and Kilcreene Regional Orthopaedic Hospital are set to become smoke-free zones from January 6 next year, as they implement a new tobacco-free policy. From January 6, smoking will not be permitted anywhere on their grounds – including entrances, doorways, walkways, internal roads, bus shelters, car parks and bicycle shelters.
The rules will apply to all staff, patients, visitors, contractors and any other person who enters the hospital grounds. The purpose is to ensure a healthier, safer and cleaner environment for all.
The policy is also being implemented in community health centre facilities throughout counties Carlow and Kilkenny. Similar initiatives have been in place, in other hospital campuses, such as Waterford Regional Hospital.
Dr Garry Courtney, clinical director at St Luke’s Hospital, has backed the move.
“Hospitals and health systems, both nationally and internationally, are working to encourage patients to adopt healthier tobacco-free lifestyles in order to decrease the incidence of smoking related disease,” he said.
“Providing a smoke free environment sends a clear message that St Luke’s is committed to protecting and promoting the health of our patients, staff and all who visit here.”
Patients are being reminded of the new policy, including in notification contained on appointment letters. Staff at Kilcreene Regional Orthopaedic Hospital and St Luke’s General Hospital Carlow/Kilkenny have been offered training in smoking cessation advice for inpatients. Ongoing awareness sessions have also been held for staff.