Face masks and social distancing: Due to the rising prevalence of COVID-19 in our communities, we strongly encourage healthcare staff and visitors to wear a face covering in all of our settings, particularly in clinical areas and those with high footfall. Please exercise a common-sense approach and personal responsibility to help us reduce the impact of COVID-19 on our patients, workforce and services. In addition to wearing a face covering, it is important to continue to maintain social distancing where possible. Thank you for your continued support and co-operation at this time. We continue to regularly review our advice based on prevalence in our communities and our hospitals.
New regulations are coming in on 1st March which will make it illegal to smoke in hospital grounds.
While a voluntary ban has been in place across the health board for some years, for the first time this will be enshrined in law.
The new laws, being introduced by the Welsh Government across Wales on 1st March, build on the smoking ban in hospitals and other public buildings introduced in 2007 in and will protect more people from harmful second-hand smoke and help those trying to quit.
The new law means that all parts of the hospital grounds will be smoke-free. Anyone found breaking the law by smoking in the hospital grounds could face a £100 fine.
Swansea Bay UHB Executive Medical Director, Dr Richard Evans, said: “Preventing people smoking on our hospital grounds will promote healthier care environments.
“It will protect hospital users from harmful second-hand smoke and support people who want to stop smoking to do so.
“However we know that it can be difficult for some people to stop smoking, so we will be supporting them by signposting to services which can offer help and advice.”
Some smokers have already been motivated to give up smoking due to the COVID-19 pandemic and it is hoped this new legislation will encourage even more to. Quitting with support provides the best chance of stopping smoking for good.
The new laws will also cover spaces where children and young people spend their time – such as school grounds and public playgrounds, as well as the outdoor areas of children’s day care and childminding settings.
Making more places in Wales smoke-free will de-normalise smoking and reduce the chances of children and young people starting smoking in the first place– a huge benefit to the next generation.
“The harm that smoking can do to health is well documented. Staff, patients and visitors at our hospitals all have an important role to play to ensure in building a healthier Wales for the future,” added Dr Evans.
Those looking to quit smoking are encouraged to access Wales’ free NHS support service, Help Me Quit, on 0800 085 2219 or www.helpmequit.wales/ for help and support, including access to free stop smoking medication.