Over the years I, and many members of my family have benefited from treatment at Pinderfields Hospital. For many of those years the actual buildings were totally unappealing, especially the huts at the western end of the site.
Many of the corridors were scruffy, if not dirty. The staff, of course endured it daily. Along came Balfour-Beatty and a new, gleaming hospital rose from the rubble. I have had two short stays and I can assure anyone that the improvement in all facilities is hard to believe. It is a wholly different experience for patients and staff.
The new entrance into the hugely impressive atrium is a fine introduction to the rest of the hospital. However, the first impression is completely ruined by patient smokers.
There are several huge sign on the walls leading up to the main entrance which say unequivocally, No Smoking. You can see at most times of the day patients actually leaning on these warnings lighting up their fags and flipping the tab over the walls.
It is true but hard to believe that among the dressing-gowned patients there often will be patients in wheelchairs and people pushing a drip. Also hard to believe is that only some 25 yards away from the main door is a specially built shelter for smokers. The staff of the hospital are not allowed to smoke on the premises, they have to go off site.
Smoking is often said to be an addiction so that smokers simply must have a smoke or they will not be able to operate fully. Both my grandfather’s were lifelong coalminers when almost all miners smoked.
That meant for eight or nine hours there was no question of anyone smoking. I have been assured you never saw anyone in the pit gnawing a pit prop because they had withdrawal symptoms.
I spoke to the hospital management and to the Pals organisation. Both said they were unable to do anything about the problem. I really don’t believe it.