20 June 2013
More than 70 per cent of staff who work for Health and Social Services prefer working in a environment free of tobacco smoke, according to recent research carried out by the department.
At least 20 staff gave up smoking as a result of the 'smokefree' move, and 19 of those used the department’s Help2Quit service. The department’s smokefree policy stopped smoking across all its grounds, car parks and buildings.
The findings come from a staff survey completed by nearly 400 HSSD staff, just over a year since HSSD became the first States department to officially go smokefree on 14 March 2012.
The move meant that for the first time, staff, patients, clients and visitors to all HSSD sites were not allowed to smoke inside or immediately outside any HSSD premises.
The 390 HSSD staff who replied to the survey said:
- 71% prefer the working environment since going smokefree
- 23% of staff who smoke have considered stopping
at least 20 staff stopped smoking
42% of staff who smoke have reduced the number of cigarettes smoked
26% of staff who smoke now don’t smoke at all while at work
Senior health promotion officer Martin Knight said “We are pleased to have had the feedback. It is encouraging that staff who work within HSSD have found the smokefree policy beneficial, and it’s an added benefit that some smokers have quit, or are thinking about quitting.
“By having the policy in place, we are protecting service users, staff and visitors from exposure to second-hand smoke, and also preventing smoking at entrances where smoke previously drifted back into buildings through doors and windows.”
Mr Knight said that the key aims of the policy were:
to protect the health of staff, service users, visitors and contractors from the known harms caused by tobacco
to support all HSSD staff to meet their duty of care to service users
to enable HSSD to be an exemplary organisation and employer in pursuing a smokefree environment
Health care assistant kicks the habit
One staff member who successfully quit following smokefree's introduction was Adam Griffiths, a health care assistant in the Special Needs Unit at Aviemore Respite Care Home.
He said “I smoked in my teens and early 20s before quitting. Unfortunately I started again four years ago but the smokefree policy made me think about stopping again and I have now been a non-smoker for five months.”
Leading the way
Chief nurse and sponsor of the smokefree policy, Rose Naylor, said “Based on feedback from patients and staff we agreed that, as a healthcare organisation, we should lead the way in introducing a smokefree environment across all our premises. Since the new policy was brought in, we have continued to offer support to staff and patients who wish to quit.
“We recognise that not everyone who we comes into contact with may want to quit – these individuals are offered a range of support to assist them with abstinence while they are in our care, or at work. Since we made the changes, we have received very positive feedback.”
One patient who has stopped smoking since being admitted to hospital earlier this year is Beverly Mooney.
“I can’t say it’s been easy but I’ve really surprised myself," she said. "It’s great that the hospital fixed me, but also looked at how else they could help me. I have no doubt at all that I have recovered faster on my most recent hospital visit because I had stopped smoking.”
Mr Knight added “As well as implementing the policy in HSSD, we have been supporting other departments like the Youth Service, Les Quennevais Sports Centre, Transport and Technical Services, and HMP La Moye in their journeys towards becoming smokefree.”