Allowing mental health patients to smoke on hospital grounds
suggests to them they are second-class citizens whose health
does not matter, a staff proposal to a Southern District
Health Board committee says.
The hospital advisory committee, which meets in Oamaru today,
will consider whether an exemption for locked-in patients
should be lifted. At present, they are allowed to smoke in
designated outdoor areas.
The policy as it stood stigmatised locked-in patients by
allowing them to smoke when others were forbidden, the
''We currently have a situation in the DHB wherein all
hospitals (including the trust hospitals) are smokefree
environments whilst Wakari Hospital is not.
''This is not tenable and sends a confused and wrong message
to the people whom we employ and serve.''
In a survey of local psychiatric patients, there was
overwhelming support for a ban, the proposal said.
The High Court at Auckland in July dismissed concerns such
bans contravened human rights, the proposal said.
Stopping smoking conferred health benefits on patients and
the effects of nicotine withdrawal could be managed.
The committee will make a recommendation to the full board,
which meets tomorrow in Oamaru.
The exemption was made in 2010 due to concerns a full ban
discriminated against those confined to hospital grounds.