The fresh air garden at Ninewells Hospital has been closed after ‘regular’ complaints about smokers lighting up.
NHS Tayside has taken the decision to temporarily close the space after concerns were raised about smokers around entrances, footpaths and seating areas in hospital grounds.
Smoking is banned on all NHS Tayside grounds with loud tannoy messages at Ninewells reminding people of the strict non-smoking policy. Despite this, folk have flouted the rules.
The health board has moved to crack down on this by cordoning off the garden to all for four weeks to discourage folk from lighting up.
Andrew Radley, Consultant in Public Health for NHS Tayside, said: “Since the temporary cordon was installed, we have already received positive feedback from patients and staff about the smoke-free environment they now experience coming in to the hospital. It is clear that most people that we talk to support our No Smoking Policy and want to be able to use our services without being exposed to second-hand smoke.
“We hope that this temporary closure will help make people more aware of our No Smoking Policy and how they can support it.
“As a health promoting organisation, NHS Tayside takes breach of the policy very seriously. We are committed to helping the communities that use our services to lead longer, healthier lives.
“We understand that it can be hard to go without a cigarette, particularly at stressful times, however the NHS exists to make everyone’s health as good as possible.
“Keeping our grounds smoke free is to benefit the health of everyone and we thank all smokers for respecting this.”
Later this year, the Health (Tobacco, Nicotine etc And Care) (Scotland) Act 2016 will make it illegal to smoke within 15 metres of a hospital building.
Anyone breaking this law will be liable to receive a fixed penalty notice which can be issued by enforcement officers employed by the council.