Hospital beefs up no smoking rules

ban extends to car parks and paths
ban extends to car parks and paths

The hospital recently reformed its Smoke-free Working Committee to tackle the problem and a City of Armadale representative has joined the group.

An Armadale Health Service spokesman told Comment News the no smoking policy applied to all health campuses and AHS had recently increased no smoking signage in its car parks, walkways and building entrances.

People who smoke on campus risk a $50 fine.

‘All patients are assessed as to whether they smoke and Nicotine Replacement Therapy (NRT) is provided to support patients who identify themselves as smokers either before or during their admission to the hospital,’ he said.

Smoking is a particular concern at the hospital which was forced to relocate patients and shut down it’s Emergency Department in December 2010 after a fire, believed to be started by a cigarette butt dropped into a drain behind the Galliers wing, caused $15,000 worth of damage.

The health service also confirmed three cigarette-induced spot fires occurred before the fire.

One was extinguished by a security staff member who poured water into the drain.

In September last year, Armadale MLA Tony Buti wrote to Health Minister Kim Hames alerting him to the ‘unsatisfactory situation’ after receiving complaints about the level of smoking on campus from constituents.

‘This smoking at the front door is in clear contravention of a no smoking sign and it is very unpleasant for patients and visitors who run the gauntlet of cigarette smoke,’ his letter said.

‘A bench near the door is used by smokers which excludes anyone else from sitting there.

‘A constituent has reported that security personnel have informed him that there is nothing that can be done about the situation.’

In his response Dr Hames said smokers continued to ignore signs and verbal messages from staff including security officers and he said the response to NRT by patients had been low.

In January, Dr Buti again wrote to the minister and the response highlighted the recent actions of the hospital to increase signage and reconvene the committee.