August 5, 2010 - The northeast region of Scotland is called Grampians (see map click to enlarge). National Health Service (NHS) Grampian is responsible for improving the health of the Grampian population and for providing safe high-quality health care when it is needed and where it is needed.
The Scottish Government has backed NHS Grampian’s controversial plans to extend the smoking ban to all its grounds, car parks and even to staff arriving for work in their uniforms. The health board faced an angry backlash last week when the proposals were revealed, but later on today its executive committee is expected to approve the scheme. Patients will be warned they could be refused treatment if they ignore strict new rules, which will also apply to staff and visitors.
The Latest Word: The NHS Grampian board met on August 3rd and decided to delay the smoking ban from all of NHS Grampian's premises by 2012 amid concerns over enforcing the measures. The board deferred the decision for six months after agreeing more discussion was needed with staff, patients, the public and other health authorities. (NHS Grampian hospital smoking clampdown delayed, BBC News, 8/3/2010)One campaign group has questioned the legality of such a move, saying the smoking ban enacted in 2007 can be applied only indoors. But last night the Scottish Government confirmed that there are provisions within the law for such a ban – and that it supported the move.“The Scottish Government has ambitious plans to build on the ban on smoking in enclosed public places as we move towards a smoke-free Scotland,” a spokeswoman said yesterday. “To this end, we have passed legislation which will see a ban on cigarette vending machines and cigarette displays in shops.” (Scotland - parliament votes to ban retail cigarette displays and vending machines..)
“Smoking is extremely harmful to health and is responsible for more than 13,000 deaths a year in Scotland. “We are sending out a powerful message that smoking is actively discouraged in modern Scotland, and this is helping to bring about a cultural shift which we believe will make smoking less acceptable.
“NHS boards have the power to ban smoking on their premises and the Scottish Government is supportive of any moves in this direction. “Staff, patients and visitors should respect any such decision by a health board.”
A similar ban is already in place at health facilities across the Highlands and, once the Grampian ban is fully implemented by the beginning of 2012, patients will face the threat of treatment being withdrawn if they ignore requests to stub out. The ban would even stop staff from smoking while wearing their uniforms at any time.
The proposals were brought forward originally in February 2009 but shelved just months later following a public backlash. Union officials previously described the proposals as “ridiculous”.
Staff will be banned from smoking at any point during their working day, even during breaks, and will also be in charge of enforcing the new rules. Any staff found not complying with the ban will face disciplinary action and could be sacked. Even carrying tobacco will be deemed an offence.
Reference: NHS Grampian bid to extend smoking ban wins backing Scottish government says health board has legal right to implement plans by Ryan Crighton, PressandJournal.co.uk, 8/3/2010.
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