herald

Saturday 18 August 2018

Smokers left out in cold at city hospital

SMOKING is bad for your health - in more ways than one for patients at one of Dublin's busiest hospitals.

Some patients who popped outside for a quick puff, werelocked out at James Connolly Memorial Hospital in Blanchardstown.

Today the hospital stressed that smoking is prohibited in the entire grounds and dismissed complaints that patients who wanted to smoke at night were "locked out."

A spokesperson said the hospital was a "smoke-free" campus and "the position on smoking remains constant irrespective of the time of day".

The HSE comments came after patients at facility expressed upset at the smoking ban on campus.

Stroke patient Marian Blair (49) from Blanchardstown told the Herald that security at James Connolly Memorial Hospital, Blanchardstown was preventing her from taking smoking breaks after visiting hours have ended.

The group of patients say they are being subjected to prison-like rulesMarian said: "We're having a little bit of hassle gaining access in and out of the hospital. There's a no smoking policy there and one of the patients was locked out of the hospital last night when she went outside for a cigarette.

"It's fair enough that there's a no smoking policy but to be treated the way we're being treated, like children, is not fair.

"We were locked out last week and we had to wait for two hours to get back in."

Another patient, Noreen Egan, (48) from Ashington, Dublin claims that she was locked out on Sunday night.

"I went out to get some air and I put the cigarette box in the door to hold it open. But security locked it. I had to find my own way back through another entrance."

Marian added: "Should we not have the freedom to walk in and out? It's not a prison."

The HSE spokesperson said the hospital closed the main door at 8.30pm.

"There is a clear sign informing people of the same. Security staff endeavour to facilitate patients in so far as is possible."

She added that Connolly Hospital restricted smoking in the entire campus.

"All patients are encouraged to meet with the smoking cessation officer to assist them in giving up smoking."

hnews@herald.ie

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