NEWBORN babies at a Scottish hospital are inhaling cigarette smoke in their first breaths, angry medics revealed yesterday. The maternity unit at the Victoria Hospital, Kirkcaldy, is above an entrance where visitors and patients regularly light up.
Clouds of cigarette smoke are wafting through the windows of the maternity unit and being breathed in by hours-old babies. NHS Fife say they have a strict no-smoking policy at the site but admit it is “impossible” to enforce.
They are calling on the Scottish Parliament to legislate to ban smoking in and around hospitals. NHS Fife member Moira Adams said she uncovered the scandal while talking to midwives.undefined
She told a meeting: “I was horrified to hear that smoke is coming up right into the maternity unit where new born babies are gasping their first breaths.” Dave Stewart, chairman of NHS Fife operations division, said: “It really annoys me when patients come down in dressing gowns and stand at the door smoking.
“There’s no simple answer to it,” he said. “I have raised it with MSPs about smoking on acute hospital sites. The response was I should provide smoking shelters. “What I wanted was for MSPs to pass legislation on smoking in acute hospital sites.”
Gillian Smith, director of the Royal College of Midwives in Scotland, urged the hospital to appeal to smokers’ consciences.
She said: “If the hospital brought it to people’s attention that their smoke was going in the maternity ward then I’m sure it would be enough to halt the smoking outside the building.
“Yes, it’s difficult to police but if people are made aware then it should be easier to stop people smoking in the hospital.”