Stoke & Staffordshire

North Staffordshire Hospital's U-turn on smoking ban

The University Hospital of North Staffordshire is to allow smoking on its site again after saying its present ban is unenforceable.

Hospital chiefs said the blanket ban, introduced two years ago, was being flouted by too many people.

Complaints have also been received about smokers congregating in groups on the nearby A34.

Smoking shelters will now be installed at some of the Stoke-on-Trent hospital's entrances.

'Many complaints'

The hospital's chief nurse Liz Rix said people had been standing directly outside the entrances to the hospital building, ignoring the smoking ban.

She said: "We want to encourage people not to smoke because of their health, but it's become very difficult [to enforce the smoking ban].

"We have had so many complaints from staff, patients and visitors to the hospital about what you can see outside the grounds that we thought we had to try something different."

Ms Rix said they "absolutely do not condone" smoking and would be "encouraging and supporting" any patients to give up the habit.

The hospital will now have to apply for planning permission for the new shelters on its site.