NOTE: This content is old - Published: Friday, Dec 30th, 2011.
Loudspeaker alarms are set to be installed outside Wrexham Maelor Hospital as of next week to stop people smoking outside its entrances.
Betsi Cadwaladr Health Board announced the measures, which will include new signs outside the hospitals main entrances and maternity units, as part of its Smoke Free Policy.
The alarms will be activated if any patients, staff or visitors smoke in these areas and a bilingual message issued telling them to stop.
They will also be installed outside Ysbyty Gwynedd, Bangor and Glan Clwyd in Bodelwyddan.
It is estimated that around 1,300 deaths are caused every year across North Wales by smoking and it is the number one cause of avoidable premature death and ill health in Wales
Professor Matthew Makin, Chief of Staff for the Cancer and Palliative Medicine Clinical Programme Group and Tobacco Champion for the Health Board said: “Visitors who might not be aware of the policy and who persist to smoke on our grounds will be told politely, but firmly, that they are contravening the new policy and will be asked to stop smoking, or to do so off health board grounds.
“People smoking at the entrances to our buildings or on grounds give a very poor impression and means that those entering and leaving the buildings have to pass through tobacco smoke.
“I’m in no doubt that the vast majority of staff, visitors and patients want a smoke free environment and agree that people smoking outside hospital entrances is unacceptable. That is why we are ensuring that for staff and patients who smoke, we do everything we can to support them to give up.
Andrew Jones, Executive Director of Public Health for Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board, said: “As a practicing public health organisation, we want to practice what we preach.
“We are committed to our comprehensive tobacco strategy and action plan which includes smoking cessation support for pre-operative patients, pregnant women and their partners and for people with mental health needs or chronic health conditions.
“The new Smoke Free Policy also highlights our commitment to supporting our staff to quit smoking by providing a maximum of six hours paid time off over a period of eight weeks to attend Stop Smoking Wales or Smoke Free England sessions.”
Treating smoking related illnesses costs the NHS in Wales an estimated £1million every day and also accounts for 22% of all adult hospital admission costs and 13% of GP consultation costs.
Latest data shows that approximately 76% of the adult population in North Wales do not smoke, this means that almost eight out of ten visitors, patients or staff on any NHS site are non-smokers.