The University Hospital of North Tees was the scene of a picket line demonstration today.
But these protesters weren’t demanding changes to working conditions or making a political point – they were appealing to visitors at the hospital to not smoke on the grounds.
Leading the protest was North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Hospital Foundation Trust Medical Director and Deputy Chief Executive Deepak Dwarakanath.
He said: “It beggars belief that people smoke outside our hospital entrances.
“It’s simply not acceptable. It’s already a disciplinary offence for any staff member to light up on our grounds but sadly our main problem is visitors and even patients lighting up.
“As a Trust with limited funds, it is not feasible to appoint a smoking security guard.
“So we’re going direct to people and asking them to heed the ‘no smoking’ signs and consider our patients and staff. We have children, expectant mums and patients coming in for chemotherapy treatment. They shouldn’t have to walk through a cloud of smoke to receive their healthcare.
“We don’t have a duty to provide a smoking area. This is a smoke-free site and we need that to be respected by everyone who enters the grounds.”
Quitting smoking is one of the most beneficial things anyone can do for their own health and for their loved ones.