In my letter to Sandwell hospital’s Chief Executive, I wrote:
The [hospital’s] nine care standards, or promises are:
I will… make you feel welcomeI will… make time to listen to youI will… be polite, courteous and respectfulI will… keep you informed and explain what is happeningI will… admit to mistakes and do all I can to put them rightI will… value your point of viewI will… be caring and kindI will… keep you involvedI will… go the extra mile
May I ask in what way a “zero tolerance crackdown” on smoking will make smoking patients “feel welcome”? And equally in what way such a crackdown is “polite, courteous and respectful”? Or indeed “caring and kind”? And it seems to me that it will be your smoking patients who will actually be “going the extra mile” (to find somewhere to smoke).
I was asking questions. I was comparing the hospital’s own stated ethical code with what the hospital was proposing to do to smokers, and asking if they were in accord with each other.
And clearly they’re not. Preventing people from smoking anywhere in the hospital precinct clearly isn’t being “polite, courteous and respectful” to them: it is impolite, discourteous and disrespectful. And fining them if they smoke will not make smokers “feel welcome”: it will make them feel very unwelcome indeed. And since smoking outdoors does no harm to anyone, any fine levied on someone smoking in the hospital grounds will amount to an act of theft.
They may as well put up large signs saying “Smokers Not Welcome”.
And it has nothing to do with the hospital’s core task of the care and treatment of the sick. It is in fact quite antithetical to that core task, because it is a form of mistreatment and lack of care.
I’ll go further. Banning people from smoking anywhere in a hospital’s grounds isn’t just impolite, discourteous and disrespectful: it’s an utterly vile thing to do. It’s an evil thing to do.
That’s what I think. And yet we have a hospital board of trustees which includes a Chief Nurse who says of the proposed exclusions and fines: “Having a staged approach to try to get people to stop smoking is the right thing to do morally.”
The right thing to do morally.
I think it’s just plain wrong to exclude, bully, and rob people. But what I think is wrong is what this man thinks is right!
Clearly we don’t share the same set of values. We have different ideas of what’s right and wrong.
But what do you think?