Leeds & West Yorkshire

Wakefield's Pinderfields Hospital smokers shamed via loudspeaker

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Media captionPinderfields Hospital smokers shamed via loudspeaker

People who ignore 'no smoking' signs by the doors of a Wakefield hospital are being shamed through a loudspeaker.

Staff, visitors and patients can activate the pre-recorded messages, which are then played through a speaker outside Pinderfields Hospital.

"Hi, I'm Georgia, would you mind not smoking outside? Someone's mummy or daddy could be having their treatment today," says one of the announcements.

Pro-smoking group Forest has said the announcements are "Orwellian".

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The action comes after a no smoking policy was introduced in March across all hospital sites run by The Mid Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust.

Image caption The hospital has introduced the plans as part of a crackdown on smoking near its entrance

The messages, some recorded by children, include:

  • "Excuse me, do you think you could put out your cigarette? Someone's nanny, granddad, mummy or daddy, is having their cancer treatment today. Thank you."
  • "A lot of our parents come here for their cancer treatment. Please think before you smoke."
  • "Please protect my family from your smoking outside... you can increase their chances of staying well if you stop."

Iain Brodie, general manager of facilities at the trust, said: "We've introduced the system because it's vital we take every possible step to discourage smoking.

"Patients and visitors, including newborn babies and those arriving by ambulance, often have to pass through cigarette smoke at our hospital entrances, which is totally unacceptable."

One smoker outside the hospital said: "I know smoking is bad for you but when you are in hospital, it does relieve a lot of stress."

The plans have been criticised by Simon Clark, director of Forest, who said they were targeting smokers using emotive messages.

"A better solution is a comfortable smoking area away from the hospital entrance but not so far that it discriminates against those who are infirm or less mobile."

The government aims for smoking rates to be less than 12% by the end of 2022 while the current rate in Wakefield is 17.9%, according to Public Health England.

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