Margaret Swords, Group General Manager, Louth Meath Hospital Group and Dr. James Reilly, T.D., Minister for Health, pictured in Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital in Drogheda, Co. Louth at the launch of the new ŒTobacco Free Campus Policy¹ which is being introduced at the hospitals within the Louth/Meath Hospital Group. Pic. Robbie Reynolds/CPR

Margaret Swords, Group General Manager, Louth Meath Hospital Group and Dr. James Reilly, T.D., Minister for Health, pictured in Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital in Drogheda, Co. Louth at the launch of the new ŒTobacco Free Campus Policy¹ which is being introduced at the hospitals within the Louth/Meath Hospital Group. Pic. Robbie Reynolds/CPR

 

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Hospitals in Louth and Meath become Tobacco-Free Zones

 

Dr. James Reilly, T.D., Minister for Health today (22nd February, 2012) launched the new 'Tobacco Free Campus Policy' which is being introduced at the hospitals within the Louth/Meath Hospital Group.

By introducing this new policy we hope to help change social norms around tobacco use, treat tobacco addiction as a health care issue, and promote smoking cessation by actively advising, encouraging and supporting people to quit smoking.

From today it will no longer be possible to smoke anywhere on the hospital grounds or campuses at Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital in Drogheda, Louth County Hospital in Dundalk and Our Lady's Hospital in Navan.

The policy will apply to all staff, patients, visitors, contractors and anyone who enters the hospital buildings or grounds and will ensure a healthier, safer and cleaner environment for all and better health outcomes for patients and staff.

"Each year, more than 5,200 people die prematurely from diseases caused by tobacco use" Minister Reilly said. "I wholeheartedly welcome the HSE commitment to have all HSE campuses tobacco free by 2015. I am happy to see that this initiative is also being rolled out in hospital campuses in Waterford and Galway from today, Ash Wednesday. A key element in reducing the number of people who smoke is to denormalise smoking in our society. Initiatives such as the Tobacco Free Campus Initiative launched today play an important role in achieving this. In particular it assists in discouraging our children and young people from starting to smoke."

Dr. Paul Keelan, Consultant Cardiologist said, "Stopping smoking is the single most important thing a person can do to improve their health, at any age, it is the single biggest cause of cancer and chronic chest diseases and is a significant cause of cardiovascular disease. Giving up smoking greatly improves the chances of patients' recovery. Research shows that non smokers or those who quit smoking before or after surgery have much better wound healing and recover faster. As a hospital group that focuses on making people well, it is right for us to do all that we can to promote health by extending our tobacco free environment to include the campus."

Margaret Swords, Group General Manager, Louth Meath Hospital Group said "As a major provider of health care in the region, we are taking our responsibility around health promotion and illness prevention seriously. 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 diseases. Providing smoke free campuses sends out a clear message that we are committed to protecting and promoting the health of our patients, staff and all who visit our hospitals."

Patients are being informed of the new policy in advance of their admission to hospital and, when admitted, patients who smoke will be offered free Nicotine Replacement Therapy (NRT) during their hospital stay. GPs have also been informed of the introduction of this policy. A series of educational and information sessions have been held for staff as well as training on the use of nicotine replacement therapy.

The Minister also officially opened the new Acute Medical Assessment Unit (AMAU) at Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital in Drogheda, which provides immediate and early specialist management of adult medical patients. The unit which opened in December, provides rapid assessment diagnosis, commencement of appropriate treatment and a prompt decision regarding the need for admission to hospital or discharge home.

Background

Smoking is the leading preventable cause of disease and death in the world, accounting for 5,500 deaths on average in Ireland annually.

The HSE as the leading healthcare provider is committed to reducing the use of tobacco and its harmful health effects. As the national body responsible for health promotion, health protection and prevention of illnesses and disease, the HSE has adopted the National Tobacco Control Framework which states that all HSE campuses will become tobacco free by December 2015.

Connolly Hospital Blanchardstown, the Mater Hospital, Cork University Hospital and St. Vincent's Hospital are already operating tobacco free campuses.

There are many supports available to assist those wishing to quit smoking:
- Visit www.quit.ie
- Join www.facebook.com/HSEquit
- Call the National Smokers' Quitline on 1850 201 203. The Quitline is open from 8am until 10 pm, Monday to Saturday and offers a confidential counselling service to anyone seeking support or information about quitting smoking.
- Hospitals Smoking Cessation Service
- Talk to your GP, Pharmacist or Dentist

Last updated on: 22 / 02 / 2012