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Residents upset over staff smoking outside hospital
RESIDENTS in Headington have complained about hospital staff smoking outside the John Radcliffe Hospital site.
People living in Sandfield Road next to the hospital have said that not enough is being done to tackle the problem.
They say staff from the hospital light up in two areas on the street, one next to a children’s play area and one on a private road that leads to the hospital.
Smoking was banned outright at the hospitals in 2007 and trust managers now want to build one smoking shelter at the JR, three at the Churchill Hospital, one at the Nuffield Orthopaedic Centre and one at the Horton General, Banbury, despite objections from county director of public health Dr Jonathan McWilliam and the GP-led Oxfordshire Clinical Commissioning Group.
If the shelters are built, they would be for visitors and patients only.
Sandfield Road resident Tony Allen said: “The problem has been going on for a long time now.
“It sets a bad example and it is arrogant for staff to think they can just do what they want.
“They have established a corner in the park and stand around smoking, not far from the playing area.
“It’s messy with the cigarette butts on the floor and the hospital has even put up bags for cigarette ends.
“We just don’t think that the hospital is doing enough. They haven’t solved the problem and we have given up trying to suggest things as nothing has been done.”
Fellow resident Mike Bishop added: “I don’t want to walk around smokers to get to the hospital.
“Hospitals are supposed to be leaders on health and I don’t think it sends out a good message to the kids.”
A resident in the private road, who asked not to be named, said: “We put up a sign trying to stop people smoking but it is still a problem.
“On some days they line up along the road smoking.
“It has meant I have been unable to hang my washing up in the garden without it smelling of cigarette smoke.”
Headington city councillor Ruth Wilkinson has been trying to resolve the problem for residents in Sandfield Road.
She said: “Residents have campaigned for an end to this smoking problem for a long time.
“Some of them have had to clear up cigarette butts and smoking litter from their front gardens and outside their front gates each morning.
“Parents of children using the park have complained that groups of adult smokers loiter in corners of the park and create a bad example for the children.”
In May, trainee doctor Jean-François Gelinas, from Oxford, became so fed up with smokers at the entrances to the hospital that he reported it to the authorities.
He said he tried to alert the hospital to the issue but felt intimidated by the smokers.
On Wednesday the city council’s east area planning committee will decide on whether to allow smoking shelters to be installed at the John Radcliffe Hospital, the Nuffield Ortho- paedic Centre and the Churchill Hospital.
An Oxford City Council planning report is urging councillors to back the plan, saying health issues could not be considered.
No-one was available to comment last night from the hospitals’ trust.
s Cherwell District Council ealier this month approved the installation of three shelters at the Horton General.
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