HEALTH workers have been subjected to a “torrent of abuse” and even feared violence after asking smokers to stop sparking up at Pinderfields Hospital.
Patients in wheelchairs, still attached to drips are among people lighting up daily in a no-smoking zone outside the main entrance to the new £300m hospital.
At a meeting yesterday, bosses at Pinderfields were frustrated after warnings that smoking is banned were ignored by visitors and patients.
And they are concerned for the welfare of staff who have been abused after asking people to extinguish their cigarettes.
Julia Squire, chief executive of Mid Yorkshire Hospitals Trust, said: “There has been a spate of complaints about smoking.
“Patients and staff are having to walk past people smoking right outside the building.
“Members of staff who speak to them are getting a load of abuse.
“It gives out the wrong impression. It doesn’t enable us to fulfil our responsibilities for staff health and well-being. People should not be doing it.”
She said bosses at the trust were considering new measures to stamp out smoking. The plan would include “incentives and disincentives” to encourage people to stop.
Around five people could be seen having a cigarette outside the Pinderfields main entrance in view of a no smoking sign after yesterday’s meeting.
Trust chairman Ed Anderson said it was presenting visitors to the hospital with a “depressing spectacle”.
Andrew Jackson, the trust’s associate medical director, said he’d been abused after confronting smokers.
He told board members: “I’m one of the members of staff who has asked people to at least consider that they are in a hospital. I have had a torrent of abuse.
“In some cases there is the potential risk of a violent approach.”