Beds, Herts & Bucks

Patients win smoking ban challenge

Patients sectioned under the Mental Health Act have won permission to bring a legal challenge over a smoking ban.

The patients at Chadwick Lodge Hospital, Milton Keynes, who cannot smoke indoors or outdoors, said the ban infringed their common law rights.

Mr Justice Silber gave them permission to seek a judicial review and said it was a case of great importance.

Smoking can be banned at hospitals where patients cannot go outside to smoke because of security concerns.

Chadwick Lodge is a 52-bed medium secure unit providing specialist treatment programmes for patients who have been detained under the 1983 Mental Health Act and have a history of offending behaviour.

Concern for security

Hugh Southey QC, appearing for the patients, said the ban was introduced last December.

He said the 2006 Health Act required that smoking should be banned "indoors" at hospitals.

The courts had also ruled that smoking could lawfully be prohibited at top security hospitals where patients could not go outside to smoke because of security concerns, said Mr Southey.

Mr Southey argued the ban at Chadwick Lodge breached the 2010 Equality Act.

The court heard patients were banned from smoking anywhere on hospital premises and also when they were accompanied by hospital nurses on escorted leave.

A Chadwick Lodge spokesman said: "The Court of Appeal has already decided in the Rampton (high- security hospital) case in July 2009 that there is no right to smoke at a hospital.

"We will make our case at the judicial review in due course."

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