The HSE yesterday announced Kerry General Hospital in Tralee will become a tobacco-free campus from Jan 6 and smoking will not be allowed anywhere on the grounds.
Michael Healy-Rae said it was ridiculous to expect people to walk up to the public road to smoke, which would be unsafe. People would also not be allowed smoke in their own cars.
“In the case of psychiatric patients, in many instances who rely on smoking, it is extremely disrespectful to expect these people to comply with these new rules,’’ he said.
“I’d obviously be much happier if nobody ever smoked again, but that is not going to happen in the real world. I think this ban is silly, stupid, and insane, and will only cause further hardship to people who are already stressed.”
Mr Healy-Rae, who doesn’t smoke, added: “I wouldn’t blame people if they ignored it and went into a corner for a quiet smoke.”
However, Kerry HSE area manager Michael Fitzgerald said the ban was in line with the HSE Tobacco Control Framework (2010), a five-year plan to address the tobacco issue.
“This initiative will provide a healthier, safer, and cleaner environment for all and lead to better outcomes for patients,’’ he said in a letter to Kerry Oireachtas and HSE Forum members.
Similar initiatives have already been introduced in other large hospitals, including St Vincent’s and Connolly Hospitals in Dublin, and Cork and Galway University Hospitals.
Information regarding Kerry General Hospital becoming a smoke-free campus will be included with all patient appointment and admissions letters.