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Tannoy to deter smokers in hospital grounds

Local hospitals have introduced a tannoy system to deter people smoking close to main entrances.

County Durham and Darlington NHS Foundation Trust became 'smoke-free' in 2007 introducing a no smoking policy across all of its sites including Darlington Memorial Hospital and University Hospital of North Durham. 

The Trust has put up prominent 'No smoking' signage across its buildings and grounds but unfortunately this does not deter all smokers from lighting up just outside the main entrance areas and the entrances to the emergency departments - including the access areas where ambulances are arriving to bring patients into hospital. 

Lee Mack, Head of Health Improvement at County Durham and Darlington NHS Foundation Trust, says, "If a member of the public or staff sees someone smoking, they can report this at reception.  Staff can then activate a voice message which can be heard loud and clear, asking smokers to extinguish their cigarettes. 

 "We've introduced the system because it's vital we take every possible step to discourage smoking. Patients and visitors, including new born babies and those arriving via ambulance, often have to pass through cigarette smoke at our hospital entrances, which is totally unacceptable.

"Our goal is to have smoke free sites, and the ability to broadcast these messages is a crucial step towards this. One in two smokers will die early from a smoking related illness and the north east region has set a goal of less than one in twenty people smoking by 2025."

Patients needing support during their hospital stay can be given nicotine replacement therapy and those wishing to stop smoking can get expert help from the Stop Smoking Service by contacting 0800 011 3405.  Smokers using this service are four times more likely to succeed than those who try to quit without support."

'The treatment I have received from all the staff has been excellent and could you extend my thanks to them all. A very thankful and relieved patient'.

Patient, Dermatology Outpatients Department, University Hospital of North Durham