'Doncaster NHS staff threatened and abused' when challenging attendees to stop smoking at hospital doors

A top boss in charge of Doncaster hospitals has said NHS staff are abused and ‘occasionally threatened’ by patients and visitors when they tell people to stop smoking outside the main entrance.

Wednesday, 11th September 2019, 2:06 pm
Smokers outside hospital doors is a problem for staff at DRI
Smokers outside hospital doors is a problem for staff at DRI

Richard Parker, chief executive of Doncaster & Bassetlaw Teaching Hospitals, made the admission at a health and wellbeing board meeting at Civic Office and said that patients coming for cancer treatment ‘have to pass through clouds of smoke’.

The council and other health partners were discussing a new strategy to combat the stagnating levels of smoking in the borough.

Council bosses and NHS chiefs will work closely together to adopt a new plan which hopes to see smoking levels drop to 10 per cent by 2030. The current rate is just shy of 20 per cent.

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But Mr Parker said staff are being abused by those who were told to leave the Doncaster Royal Infirmary entrance when they light up.

"We obviously feel a moral responsibility to promote good health who are in our care,” Mr Parker said.

"Most people will know we are very challenged at the hospital entrance where patients who are coming for cancer treatments have to pass through clouds of smoke.

"We've been trying to deal with some of those issues and we're finding it very challenging because the staff are often verbally attacked and occasionally threatened when people are told about smoking so close to the entrance.

"A borough wide approach to stop people smoking at the entrances of hospitals and medical centres would be really welcome.

Mr Parker told councillors and other health bosses that more dialogue would be needed with those in Worksop where Bassetlaw District Hospital is based.

"The only issue I would have with our staff is service two NHS clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) and two borough councils and as a result of that we hope it can be joined up,” he added.

"The Doncaster approach on vaping is considered slightly different to that in Bassetlaw - what we can't do is end up with two different systems and different accepted ways of doing things.

"It might end up being really confusing for patients who travel between sites - we need to bottom that out.”