Home > Implementing a tobacco-free hospital campus in Ireland: lessons learned.

McArdle, D and Kabir, Zubair (2018) Implementing a tobacco-free hospital campus in Ireland: lessons learned. Irish Journal of Medical Science, 187, (2), pp. 287-296.

Background: The Irish Health Service Executive (HSE) had set a target that all HSE facilities should implement the HSE Tobacco Free Campus (TFC) policy by 2015.


Aim: The aims of this study are to examine hospital staff awareness and to assess the progress of selected HSE health care facilities towards a TFC policy.


Methods: Three health care facilities that were conveniently located were self-selected in County Cork, namely, an acute hospital, a mental health service and an older person’s facility. Three different types of quantitative data were collected between May and September 2016 drawn on Standards 3, 4 and 5 of the European Network for Tobacco Free Health Care Services (ENSH-Global) tools: (1) face-to-face consultation with health care facility managers on their progress towards the HSE TFC policy, (2) self-administered questionnaire to a purposive sample of 153 staff members across three health care facilities and (3) physical observation of signs of smoking and smoking-related information across each health care facility for objective verification of compliance.


Results: Of the 153 staff who completed the questionnaire, 64% were females, 39% were nurses, 20% were smokers and 76% agreed with the TFC policy. However, only 26% of the 153 staff had received training on motivational and tobacco cessation techniques. Seventy-seven percent of the 153 staff stated that the campus was not tobacco-free. Physical observation suggested signs of smoking within the campus across all three health care facilities surveyed.


Conclusion: Staff awareness of the HSE TFC policy across selected health care facilities in Ireland is positive but is not sufficient. There are gaps in the implementation process of the HSE TFC policy in the health care facilities. Therefore, proper communication on the importance of the ENSH-Global standards and cessation training to all staff is necessary to help reduce smoking rates across the health care facilities and also to move towards a Tobacco Free Campus in Ireland.

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