Where there’s smoke, there’s ire

Staff smoking outside Royal Perth Hospital. Pictures: Phill Moncrieff
Where there’s smoke, there’s ire
Where there’s smoke, there’s ire
Staff smoking outside Royal Perth Hospital. Pictures: Phill Moncrieff

Mr Moncrieff, a former patient who works near RPH, said the blatant smoking by staff, patients and the public that he captured on camera had been ongoing for many years.

While RPH maintains it has taken practical measures to control smoking on the hospital site, Mr Moncrieff said it had not adequately addressed the problem.

‘I’ve written a number of emails and repeated complaints to RPH saying that this is not on; I know a lot of people are discomforted by it,’ Mr Moncrieff said.

‘Their (RPH) line of defence is that it is too hard to govern and that they just don’t have the jurisdiction to enforce a smoking ban.

‘But I just don’t believe that. How can non-smoking areas be enforced around cafes but not a hospital?’

RPH acting executive director Aresh Anwar said the hospital had installed ‘no-smoking’ signage at frequently accessed areas and given verbal requests to people smoking on hospital grounds.

‘Patients are assessed for nicotine dependence and offered support to manage their nicotine cravings whilst in hospital,’ Dr Anwar said.

‘Under the Smoke Free WA Health System Policy, nicotine replacement therapy is provided to in-patients free of charge.’

However, WA Health’s Smoke Free operational directive and the Smoke Free WA Health System Policy does not apply to public areas or footpaths surrounding RPH, including Victoria Square, owned by the City of Perth.

Lord Mayor Lisa Scaffidi said the City of Perth was willing to work with stakeholders to resolve the issue.

‘It is acknowledged that Royal Perth Hospital is owned by the State Government and along with other hospitals, the solution may lie in regulations for which the State is responsible,’ Ms Scaffidi said.

‘For example, we understand that on January 1, 2015, a new law to ban smoking at all public and private health facilities and schools was introduced in Queensland by the Queensland State Government.

‘A similar approach could be taken to WA legislation. Such changes would require amendments to the State’s Tobacco Control Regulations.’

Mr Moncrieff said he hoped for an end to the intolerable problem.

‘This is a major public concern and I hope they don’t keep passing the buck,’ he said.