Fianna Fáil Councillor Kieran O’Hanlon has called for smoking areas to be provided in hospitals.
The HSE’s ‘Tobacco Free Campus Policy’ was introduced in 2012, meaning that since then, smoking has been banned on all its hospital grounds.
Cllr. O’Hanlon said on Newstalk Breakfast that smoking facilities need to be brought back to his local hospitals as he believes sick patients shouldn’t have to go outside in the “freezing cold” to smoke.
He said that he thinks it’s sad to see patients being forced to stand beyond the hospital gates when they want to smoke.
“I think they’re being treated like outcasts.”
“We’ve had a very harsh winter. When I see people in the freezing cold or heavy rain, or wind and storms, and they have to stand outside… people who probably are very sick have to stand outside the gates of hospitals.”
Despite being a non-smoker himself, the former mayor of Limerick said that sick patients should have an area where they can go to smoke while they’re in hospital.
“At the end of the day, these people who are sick, I think that they should have a facility – like a bus shelter or something of that nature – where they can have a smoking area.”
He added: “Think of the patients. The patients should come first.”