A new policy that outlaws smoking at all Health Services Authority premises has not caused too much consternation among staff and patients, and has even inspired some to quit, HSA administrators say.
‘We haven’t gotten too much push back on this from staff members that smoke,’ said HSA Medical Director, Dr. Greg Hoeksema. ‘Quite a few have said to me that they think this is a good thing, the right thing, and they support it.’
The smoking ban, which has been in effect for over a week, means staff and patients now have to walk off-site before they can light up.
Previously, smoking was outlawed inside HSA buildings but not in areas immediately outside. At the Cayman Islands Hospital, it meant many smokers would not walk much further than the closest exit when they lit up.
That meant smoke was coming back into the building, through doorways, windows and outside ventilators, Mr. Hoeksema explained. It was a particular problem at exists near the maternity ward, while an outside ventilator was drawing second-hand smoke into the kidney dialysis unit, he said.
As part of the move, the HSA is offering to help all smokers in the Cayman Islands with free smoking cessation programmes at the hospital.
Mr. Hoeksema said a handful of staff members have used the policy’s introduction as an opportunity to kick the habit.
Announcing the move in February, Acting CEO Lizzette Yearwood said as a health care provider and leader in the field, the HSA had to lead by example.
‘Taking this important step to provide a healthier environment for our patients and employees is the right thing to do, and supports our commitment to improving the quality of health care delivered in the Cayman Islands,’ she said.
For help quitting smoking, call the HSA on 949-8600 or the Cayman Islands Cancer Society on 949-7618.