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NHS Staff To Face Ban On Smoking

The employees of the Suffolk East Primary Care Trust will be banned from smoking, even during off duty hours, as long as they are wearing their identification// badge or uniform. The ban on smoking which is planned will be applicable to patients, contractors, visitors, volunteers and other people who visit the premises of the Trust. The Suffolk East Primary Care Trusts' (PCT) combined board has been called upon to give its approval for the new smoking policy during its next meeting on 30 November 2005.

Unison, the health workers' union has called this an unworkable proposal, as it bans even smoking in the car park. This is in spite of the fact that the union is opposed to smoking. The union has also threatened that it will legally challenge the ban on the grounds of infringement on the civil liberties of the workers.

Professor Sir Liam Donaldson, the Chief Medical Officer of the Trust is spearheading the anti-smoking drive. The ban is planned to be gradually enforced after the 'no smoking day' in March 2006. The ban on smoking is reportedly supported by 80% of the staff of the Trust. Anti-smoking campaigners insist that health staff must be barred from smoking in public even while they are off duty. The country's Parliament is already critical of the smoking ban of the Government, which is reportedly not strong enough. The only NHS property in the UK which still permits smoking at its premises is the Queen Elizabeth Hospital.


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