Smoking banned at Hastings mental health unit

25/1/12- Woodlands Mental Health Unit, Hastings ENGSUS00120120103091641
25/1/12- Woodlands Mental Health Unit, Hastings ENGSUS00120120103091641

The NHS trust in charge of a unit for people with mental health problems is set to ban patients, staff, carers and visitors from smoking on the premises.

The Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust said the decision to make The Woodlands Centre for Acute Care on The Ridge and its other centres smoke free would create ‘a healthier environment for everyone’.

Woodlands includes inpatient mental health services.

The trust says that people with mental health issues are more likely to smoke, and to smoke more heavily than other people and this is one of the main reasons that they tend to have poorer physical health and lower life expectancy.

It added that the smoke from tobacco also reduces the effectiveness of some types of medication, meaning larger doses are required compared to those needed by a non-smoker.

From Wednesday (March 8) staff, patients, carers and visitors will be banned from smoking anywhere on site, including in doorways, grounds and car parks.

This includes electronic cigarettes, with the exception of inpatient wards where patients will be allowed to use disposable e-cigarettes.

Diane Hull, executive director of nursing and patient experience at Sussex Partnership, said, “Smoking is the leading cause of premature death in the UK, and two out of every five cigarettes are smoked by someone with a mental health condition.

“Most of the reduction in life expectancy among people with serious mental illness is attributable to smoking.

“We have a responsibility to support our patients’ physical health as well as their mental health and going smoke free is a big part of helping us to do this.”

The smoking ban will not apply to the Conquest Hospital, run by East Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust, which provides designated outdoor smoking areas.

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