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Medway Martime Hospital praised by Duncan Selbie, head of Public Health England

A national health chief has praised Medway Martime Hospital for its work going smoke-free.

The hospital has employed smoking officers to patrol the site and ask those who are having a cigarette to do so off site.

The stop smoking team has also given the officers spirometers, which can be used to measure a person’s lung capacity if they ask the officers for advice.

Smoker with cigarette. Picture: Getty Images
Smoker with cigarette. Picture: Getty Images

Duncan Selbie, chief executive of Public Health England (PHE), has highlighted these efforts by Medway NHS Foundation Trust as an example of “an organisation showing practical thinking and taking innovative action towards becoming truly tobacco-free”.

Smoking was banned at the Gillingham site in October

Lesley Dwyer, chief executive of the trust, said: “There can be no doubt that smoking has a negative impact on health and as a healthcare provider it is important that we lead by example.

“Our role is to care for people at their most vulnerable, in a safe environment.

“By not allowing smoking on our site we are helping to protect our patients, visitors and staff from the harmful effects of smoking.

“We are delighted to have received fantastic support from staff, patients and our partners in going smoke-free and the hospital is a much healthier environment as a result.”

Medway Maritime
Medway Maritime

In November 2016, Mr Selbie wrote to every NHS trust asking for their commitment to help the service become smoke-free.

PHE deputy director Angela Baker said: “In the South East of England smoking rates continue to fall across the region and are now the lowest on record at 15.9%.

“Medway NHS Foundation Trust provides excellent examples of how large hospitals can work towards becoming tobacco-free.

“Tobacco sales are also in decline as record numbers of people quit smoking.

“This is good news but there is more work needed to encourage more smokers to kick the habit and give themselves a better chance of staying healthy, avoiding conditions such as lung and oral cancers, coronary heart disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, emphysema and strokes.”

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