Friday 3 April 2009

The NuPuritans Are At It Yet Again…

And unsurprisingly, it’s the British Meddling Association leading the charge:
The British Medical Association is calling for smoking to be banned from all hospital grounds in Wales.

On the second anniversary of the ban on smoking in public places in Wales, it wants the assembly government to ensure hospitals are completely smoke free.

Currently, some Welsh NHS Trusts operate voluntary codes, which are not enforceable by any laws or fines.
And that’s presented as a ‘problem’ for the security staff, who are told to enforce a policy that has no basis in law , and so (quite rightly) face the ire of people worried about their loved ones and stepping out for a quick ciggie while they wait to discover just how many hospital acquired infections Aunt Gladys has picked up this time:
Steve Jones, security manager at Ysbyty Glan Clwyd in Bodelwyddan, Denbighshire, said guards had been left upset by some aggressive smokers.

"Patients, relatives and visitors can become verbally aggressive to staff when politely asked to move away from buildings to smoke elsewhere.

"The usual reply is 'Why?' or 'What are you going to do about it?'"
Good for them! That should, indeed, be the appropriate response. When did we forget that, in our headlong plunge into quiet acquiescence to pointless rules by unelected bodies?

The current answer is to the ‘what are you going to do about it?’ question is, of course, ‘nothing’; so the BMA have to therefore press forward with their plans to ban smoking in the grounds, and so back up unenforceable Trust policies with the force of law.
Dr Andrew Dearden, chair of the BMA's Welsh Council, said smoke was putting people's health at risk in the very place they visit to get better.

"The very reason people visit hospitals is to increase their chances of getting better, not to potentially have their health threatened, by having to fight their way through clouds of cigarette smoke."
Pardon? The NHS isn’t so broken surgeons are operating in the grounds now, are they..?

So there should be no need (with careful planning of smoking areas and adequate ventilation) for it to affect people in the hospital, should there? If you don’t want the smokers outside the front door to the hospital, provide a designated smoking area somewhere else, and you’ll find the vast majority of smokers will be more than amenable.

After all, vehicle fumes aren’t exactly the elixir of life either, and I don’t see you campaigning to ban hospital car parks from their locations, usually right outside patient’s windows.

At least, certainly not while you are coining all that lovely cash from them, anyway…


Anonymous said...

I understand the ire you feel about this but as someone who regularly attends hospital I am always slightly amazed to see those pathetic people, some in jim-jams and plugged into drips, puffing themselves to death just outside the main entrance. It isn't nice and one day one of them plugged into an oxygen tank will go up! Unfortunately the humour I would get from this will be lessened because the numpty will take a few with him.

Anonymous said...

@ ranter why pathetic?because they like a smoke and you don't.The nhs is for all so where is the designated sheltered smoking area.Why are they treated like criminals and made to skulk about doorways like second class citizens.Do you drive to hospital or catch a bus belching fumes over all?I walk nearly everywhere and put up with that without complaining and not a thought given by the drivers/passengers.That isn't"nice"either but I bet you don't give a toss about that.

Anonymous said...

why pathetic? Because they are! Anyone who smokes is pathetic - simple. You must be completely stupid to smoke in the 21st Century given all the evidence. That they are plugged in to a drip and smoking outside in nightwear also LOOKS pathetic. That said as a matter of personal choice it is their decision BUT the front entrance to a hospital isn't the place to do it. Anywhere in on or near a hospital isn't the place to do it. The rest of your argument is just silly. I just wish that the govmint hadn't stepped in to ban smoking in pubs as many were becoming smoking or non smoking through choice before the ban. Many non smoking pubs were doing very well as (a) the place wasn't full of suicidal ming mongs and (b) you didn't smell like a member of the underclass when you left them.

Anonymous said...

Ranter,how pompous,how righteous you are,smell like the underclass indeed,so rich"nice" smokers smell like what??or do only the lowlifes smoke.
Smokers all know the pitfalls of smoking now but it is up to them to decide whether to or not.If hospitals can provide carparks for your convenience then they can provide facilities for patients and visitors who wish to smoke.
I don't think it"silly"not to want to breathe in and smell of diesel fumes,far more harmful then cigarette smoke.

Anonymous said...

Ahhh, dmc, you're very anti-car, OK. You know exactly what I mean yet choose to twist the meaning. You're every bit as pompous and self-righteous as you claim I am. Anyway, not my blog, not for me to hog it. Have the last word!

JuliaM said...

" someone who regularly attends hospital I am always slightly amazed to see those pathetic people, some in jim-jams and plugged into drips, puffing themselves to death just outside the main entrance."

So, a smoking room, well-ventilated, would remove this 'problem'. After all, it's not like they WANT to be there. They HAVE to be there.

The least the NHS could do (if it could manage to avoid killing them off, it'd be nice, but I'm not holding my breath..) is to accommodate them.

"Anyone who smokes is pathetic - simple. You must be completely stupid to smoke in the 21st Century given all the evidence."

I don't smoke, by the way. And I agree that taking it up is madness. But it's not illegal - and it does pay a lot of the NHS costs, probably far, far more than are incurred treating the problems it causes.

That's why you'll never see an outright ban.

"Have the last word!"

Nah, I'll have that..! ;)

Leg-iron said...

I smoke, and I don't do it anywhere near hospitals.

The reason is simple: I won't put my hand to my mouth within hospital premises for any reason.

Why not?

I'm a microbiologist. I know exactly what's growing in there. I know where it survives and how it spreads. There are more than just the old MRSA and C. difficile to worry about in there, much more.

Ranter, have fun with your superiority to smokers. Just remember, when you're asked to take something that will clear up your C. difficile infection faster than the antibiotics alone, that you must refuse it because it was invented by a smoker - and all smokers are evil. Oh, and you can't accept the Salmonella/E. coli resistance enhancer either. In fact, I'm so pissed off at being treated as a second class citizen I might never tell anyone about that.

But that's OK with you, Ranter, because I'm a smoker and you don't want anything I might think up. Good God, there might be a trace of nicotine still clinging to it. The horror! No, stay away from my work, anti-smokers, lest you be contaminated with a whiff of burning leaves. It might spoil your enjoyment of natural scents such as burning hydrocarbons and phenol. Stick to your principles. I encourage you to do that.

Principles before people. It's the 21st century way, after all.

Anonymous said...

Leg Iron, you're so completely over the the top you seem to lose the plot. How can anyone take your points seriously? Which is a shame because often you are spot on. I made the point about choice and facilities for smokers in my second comment. No problem with that. Doesn't mean I want to stink of other people habits, no more than I want to be covered in phlegm from people who spit all the time. Get a grip, get a bit rational and a lot more people will take your sometimes excellent arguments seriously. As for the provision of ventilated smoking rooms in hospitals, why should they, they have to deal with the results of this stupidity, why encourage it? Enough is wasted by the NHS let alone for this, besides the cost could go towards funding proper hygiene systems. Like you Leg Iron I don't touch anything in ahospital if I can help it for the very reasons you mention, especially as one I attend is where a lot of people died because of MRSA and C Difficile. Anyway, my opinion and I think I'm entitled to it...aren't I?

Leg-iron said...

Ranter, you can have any opinion you like. You can hold the opinion that smoking should be banned (and in some ways, it would be easier if it were. At least we'd know where we are). You can hold the opinion that the only smoking areas should be twelve miles off shore. I woudn't deny you the right to say it, but consider...

Second hand smoke is an annoyance, yes, which is why I won't even ask to smoke in a non-smoker's house. The actual harm part, though, has not come from scientific research but from opinion.

Now we have third hand smoke and second hand drinking. Again, not from research, but from opinion. Even some anti-smoking researchers have started to question this and they've been treated like twelfth century heretics for it.

Opinions, once they gather force, supersede rational discussion. You hold the opinion that people in pyjamas and attached to drips should not be smoking outside. So do I. Sick people should not be out in the cold. Wouldn't it suit both of us better if they were inside, in a clearly marked smoking room where those who don't like smoke need never go?

Why can't we have that?

Because, in the opinion of the management, keeping smokers out is more important than keeping dangerous diseases out. Active smoking might or might not make someone ill in the future. Filthy wards make people ill now. Filthy wards are difficult to deal with. Smokers are not. It's the appearance of 'doing something to improve health' without expense or effort. It works because of opinion, it works because those who smoke are subhuman and those who challenge the opinion are scoffed at.

So yes, have any opinion you like but remember, smokers have no say. No smoker's viewpoint is considered at any time. The opinion you hold of smokers is the one supported. You don't have to fight for it. You've already won. We're banned from the inside of public spaces, and yet now we're villified for being outside them. Does it surprise you that the reaction to even more restrictions can be a bit snappy?

The same revulsion is now aimed and drinkers and anyone overweight. The elderly are denied hospital treatment because they're not worth it (see 'National Death Service' in JuliaM's links). The classification of people as pathetic and worthless because they do something you don't agree with is a very popular thing now. It invalidates any response they might give.

More and more things are being covered by this dehumanisation technique every day.

It started with smoking but it's gone way beyond that now. We'll soon all dress the same, eat and drink the same, think the same.

That's a very grey future indeed.