HEALTH workers have launched a pioneering campaign to make hospital sites smoke free.
Managers, medics and staff from County Durham and Darlington NHS Foundation Trust gathered at University Hospital North Durham, in Durham City, to kick off its Fresher, Cleaner, Healthier, Greener drive.
The trust, which spends almost £12m a year treating smoking-related diseases, launched the campaign to mark the sixth anniversary of its Smokefree policy.
It will also run at Chester-le-Street Community Hospital, as well as Darlington Memorial Hospital and Bishop Auckland Hospital.
Darcy Brown, health improvement lead tobacco at the trust, said: “Patients, visitors and staff all pass through the smoke which can gather in these areas.
“We know that eight out of 10 North Easterners support smoke-free law, so to mark our sixth anniversary, we’re moving up a gear to encourage people not to smoke on our sites.”
The drive, the first in the region to take a trustwide coordinated approach to the problem, will see the introduction of signage on lamp-posts, walls, floors and windows across each hospital site. As well as being supported by staff, who will ask smokers to stub it out while on site, the campaign is also being backed by Fresh, a tobacco control programme based in the North East.
Director Ailsa Rutter said: “Smoking is still the region’s biggest killer and the NHS can play a key role in helping to reduce the impact of smoking in all our communities.”