The Western Health and Social Services Trust has said the no smoking policy it introduced last March at all its sites – including Altnagelvin Hospital in Derry – has received “widespread support” with 92% of patients in support of the initiative.
The Trust said feedback from audits and surveys carried out has been “very positive” with a high level of compliance.
A survey undertaken with patients resulted in an “overwhelming” 92% of patients surveyed supporting smokefree hospital sites, the Trust added.
The Western Trust is the first Trust in the North to implement a smokefree a policy which does not permit smoking within the grounds of any of its sites.
Elaine Way, Western Trust chief executive, said the aim of the Trust was to achieve 100% compliance.
She said: “When we embarked on this smokefree journey, we knew it would be challenging and our aim is to achieve ‘100% of what is achievable.’
“We need the help of the public – we hope that people will comply with the new policy and have civic pride.
“We realise that our smokefree sites will take time to achieve and there are many challenges ahead.
“However, the role of the Western Trust is to provide healthcare and enable people to live healthier more fulfilled lives.
“Stopping smoking, at any age, is the single most important thing a person can do to improve their health and well-being and we are very pleased to be able to provide an environment which is supportive to helping smokers to quit.
“The absence of smoke in the environment will greatly enhance their recovery.”
She concluded: “It is important not to focus just on policing the changes but on encouraging a cultural shift, so it becomes unthinkable that anyone – staff, patients or visitors would smoke on a Western Trust site.”