An angry resident has called for a ban on smoking outside Worthing Hospital’s entrance to be encforced after being ‘forced to walk through clouds of cigarette smoke’.
John Rogers, 64, from Pulborough, has been visiting his aunt in Worthing Hospital with his wife for the past three weeks and said he has had to ‘cover his mouth and nose’ because of people, including patients, smoking by the main entrance.
He said: “It’s a disgrace and the hospital should act to safeguard those persons entering or leaving – instead they are being forced to walk through clouds of cigarette smoke.
“Nobody should be forced to suffer what we continue to suffer. The hospital should not permit anyone to smoke on its site. It’s not appropriate and we have even smelt smoke on each other’s clothing.”
The 64-year-old, who is now retired, said he reported his concerns to reception, who said the hospital is ‘aware’ of the issue but ‘can’t do anything to stop it’.
He added: “I truly believe the hospital is breaching health and safety regulations and in my opinion the hospital is knowingly putting people at risk.”
After reaching the ‘last straw’, John decided to write to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) and MP for East Worthing and Shoreham, Tim Loughton, as well as Worthing Borough Council.
A spokesman from Western Sussex Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust apologised to Mr Rogers and said the hospital had adopted a staged approach to becoming ‘smoke free’.
He said: “The trust began a campaign with a countdown to becoming smoke free.
“This was effective and certainly the number of smokers has decreased since the ban came into effect in 2006. However, there continues to be people who will smoke outside the building.
“We have to bear in mind that some are under great duress. Various reasons have been given including that a loved one is dying, the patient has been given bad news or the patient themselves is withdrawing from a serious drug or alcohol addiction. These are not easy situations for us to deal with.
“I assure you we will do all we can to maintain our smoke free environment for the health and well-being of our patients, staff and visitors.”
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