The Western Trust has has banned vaping at the Altnagelvin Hospital site and its other facilities as part of a revised Smokefree Policy.
The Trust has updated its policy as part of its drive to encourage a healthier lifestyle for the public, patients and staff and staff could now face disciplinary action if they fail to implement the policy.
The amended policy has been developed to reflect comments and complaints from patients, staff and visitors.
The other new additions to the policy include a “stronger direction” for staff roles in clamping down on smoking and emphasising the role managers have to support staff in implementing the Smokefree Policy.
The Trust policy states that staff should also request carers and service users who smoke, to refrain from smoking an hour before the scheduled visit and for the duration of the visit.
Dr. Dermot Hughes, Trust Medical Director, said: “Smokefree is everyone’s business and we all have a responsibility to ensure the healthiest and safest environment for our patients, visitors and staff.
“The Western Trust first embarked on its Smokefree journey in 2014 and we have learned a lot since then. Smokefree still remains challenging, however, we feel that our revised policy has a stronger direction on staff roles and extra measures have been put in place to support staff. Every Western Trust employee has a responsibility to ensure compliance with and implementation of the Smokefree policy. Staff should take pride in working in a smokefree environment and ask anyone they see smoking to ‘stub it out’ and advise them about our Smokefree policy and our stop smoking services. However, we equally need the support of the public to comply with our Smokefree Policy when they are visiting our Trust properties.
“I understand how difficult it is to quit and we are committed to doing everything we can do to support staff and patients to successfully quit.”
Free weekly drop-in Smoking Cessation Clinics, run by specialist stop smoking practitioners who offer ongoing support and advice. are available in Carnhill Resource Centre, Mondays (excluding bank holidays from 6pm – 7.30pm, and the Shared Future Centre in the Waterside, Thursdays 2pm - 4pm. There are also free clinics in Strabane Health Centre, Wednesdays 5pm – 6.30pm and Limavady Health Centre, Scroggy Road, Wednesdays 5pm – 7pm.
Anyone who wants information about stopping smoking can call the local helpline anytime on 0800 9179388.