At the time of writing, the new smoking policy has been in place for just over a month, so here are our first impressions. As you might expect for such a potentially polarising issue, views on how successfully the implementation has gone depends on who you speak to. Predictions of back-lashes and fighting in the streets don’t seem to have come true, but neither have the wards and grounds become oases of fresh air and tranquillity. Unfortunately, there have been some altercations and we are hearing about an increase in the amount of smoking on the wards. On the plus side, the courtyards and gardens have become more pleasant areas for many people to enjoy and some patients have been able to quit smoking entirely. Patients have told us that they think bins for disposing of cigarette butts should be provided at the entrances.
Some people still feel the policy is draconian and at least one local mental health lawyer has suggested that it may be possible to challenge the policy in the courts on the basis of human rights considerations, e.g. by using the principle of proportionality. Contact us for further details.