PLANS to ban smoking in all hospital grounds have been welcomed by a local health charity.

The National Institute of Health and Care Excellence (NICE) is recommending that no-one should be allowed to light up in the vicinity of hospitals.

Robin Ireland, chief executive of Heart of Mersey, said: “This guidance from NICE is vital in ensuring that hospitals provide a safe, smokefree environment for patients, visitors and staff.

“Smoking kills more than 4,500 people in Cheshire and Merseyside alone each year; as such it is vital that hospitals lead the way in preventing tobacco usage amongst patients, visitors and staff on their grounds.”

Heart of Mersey’s work on this issue includes supporting hospitals to become entire smokefree sites with the removal of smoking shelters and robust smokefree policies; facilitating access to stop smoking support for patients and staff; ensuring that nicotine replacement therapy products are available to patients.

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