The Midland Regional Hospital campus in Tullamore is now a smoke-free zone. The changes came into effect last Sunday, September 1. Since then smoking has not been permitted anywhere on the hospital grounds, including entrances, doorways, walkways, internal roads, bus shelters, car parks, cars and bicycle shelters.
In a statement this week hospital manager Orlagh Claffey said the introduction of the new national policy is in keeping with the hospital’s status as a health promoting hospital and its designation of one of the eight regional cancer centres in Ireland.
“Hospitals and health systems, both nationally and internationally, are working to encourage patients to adopt healthier tobacco-free lifestyles in order to decrease the incidence of smoking related disease,” Ms Claffey said.
“Providing a smoke free environment sends a clear message that this hospital is committed to protecting and promoting the health of our patients, staff and all who visit Tullamore Hospital.”
Efforts are being made to inform all patients of the new policy in advance of their admission to hospital, and when admitted patients who smoke are being offered free Nicotine Replacement Therapy during their stay.
Patients are also being offered a referral to the hospital’s free smoking cessation project, while GPs have been informed and ongoing awareness sessions are being held for hospital staff.
“Introducing the Smoke Free Campus policy in Midlands Regional Hospital at Tullamore provides an environment that promotes health and supports those who want to stop smoking,” clinical director Sean Johnston said.
“The facts are undisputable when it comes to the health gains; giving up smoking greatly improves the chances of patients recovery, which is the aim of being in hospital. Research shows that non smokers or those who quit smoking before and after surgery have much better wound healing and recover faster,” he added.
“We are not telling anyone that they must stop smoking, but we are asking people not to smoke in our hospital,” consultant surgeon and tobacco free campus project lead Dermot Hehir said.
“Stopping smoking, at any age, is the single most important thing a person can do to improve their health and we are very pleased to be able to provide such an environment in Tullamore Hospital that is supportive of anyone who wishes to do that.”
The changes at Tullamore hospital follow similar initiatives that have been introduced at other large hospital campuses including St Vincent’s and Connolly Hospital in Dublin.