WORCESTERSHIRE Acute Hospitals NHS Trust took another step toward becoming smokefree at all its sites, including Redditch's Alexandra Hospital, on March 12.
Coinciding with No Smoking Day, hospital staff launched a countdown to June 19 – when the trust will become smokefree to staff. The move is part of a longer term plan to become a completely smokefree site in 2015.
It means that staff, contractors and volunteers will not be allowed to smoke in any of the hospitals' grounds, including car parks.
Up until 2015, patients and visitors will still be allowed to use the smoking shelters, but rules about smoking in the hospital entrance will be stricter.
The countdown gives staff the opportunity to seek support to give up smoking before the rules change. The trust offers its own stop smoking service available to staff, patients and visitors.
Mary Cornford-Hill, stop smoking advisor at the Alex, said: "It takes 12 weeks to overcome dependency on nicotine, so we want to offer support to staff now.
"I’ll be out in the hospital entrance during the countdown to June 19, talking to staff about the upcoming change and making sure everyone knows we’re here to help. With the help of an NHS stop smoking advisor, you are four times more likely to quit.”
Bev Edgar, director of human resources, said: “Becoming smokefree to staff means we are promoting healthy choices and setting an example to our patients.
“We run our own stop smoking advice sessions and we will be offering staff the support they need to give up before June 19. Our stop smoking advisors can also support patients and relatives.
“In 2015 we will become completely smokefree and all smoking shelters will be removed from the site.”
Staff, patients and the public can contact Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust to book an appointment with a stop smoking advisor on 0300 1231619 or 01562 513 225.
Appointments are available in Worcester, Redditch, Kidderminster, Bromsgrove and Evesham