THE Northern Health and Social Care Trust has posted a picture on social media showing smokers congregating outside the main entrance to Antrim Area Hospital saying it is “not acceptable”.
The post has created a huge debate.
The Trust’s post said: “This photo was taken at the main entrance to Antrim Area Hospital. The person taking the photo counted six people smoking despite clear signage about the smoke free policy – this is not acceptable.
“Some are wearing dressing gowns which means they are our patients and receiving ongoing care.
“No matter what the health condition is, smoking is going against their treatment in the ward and their recovery.
“If you are an inpatient, please ask ward staff about managing your addiction when in hospital and for help in stopping smoking.
“If you are visiting a friend or relative in hospital, encourage them to use this time to try to stop smoking, instead of helping them to continue by bringing cigarettes or helping them to go outside. It is the single best thing anyone can do for their health.
“There is a woman leaving the hospital with a baby in a car seat, with no choice but to walk through the cloud of smoke.
“A person using a wheelchair is also having issues accessing the doorway as there are smokers standing in their way.
“Remember, the policy is in place for a reason, to protect all those who use our sites.
“We urge all smokers to follow the policy and not smoke anywhere on our grounds.
“There is lots of free help available to stop smoking and people are four times more likely to quit when they have support www.stopsmokingni.info. Please help us to really go smoke free in the Northern Trust!”