AN EMPLOYEE at University Hospital Llandough says smokers are flouting hospital rules by continuing to smoke on site, despite a ban introduced earlier this year.

The hospital had already limited smoking to designated areas within the grounds several years ago and expanded this to include the whole site in January.

But the member of staff, who has chosen to remain anonymous, claims that patients and staff have continued to gather at the main entrance to smoke, creating an unpleasant atmosphere for non-smokers.

The Welsh Government brought in new legislation in 2017 to prevent smoking in hospital grounds, which remains under consultation.

Cardiff and Vale University Health Board (CVUHB) also issue on-the-spot fines of £80 for anyone caught dropping cigarettes on site.

They have also hired a smoking enforcement officer to monitor Llandough and the University Hospital of Wales (UHW) in Cardiff, but the problem has allegedly not improved.

“Our only outside space is the seats and tables out the front of the building. There’s a big sign saying no smoking, and they sit there under the signs smoking,” said the staff member.

“It’s not nice having to walk past, especially in the summer when you want to sit outside and there are cigarette ends, wrappers and smoke everywhere. It’s just a bugbear of mine that it’s been banned and nobody seems to care.”

The member of staff claims that to their knowledge, no fines have been issued in Llandough since the proposals were introduced, although they were aware of a number of employees at UHW who had been issued with disciplinary action.

“It’s actually been worse since the ban. Now they all congregate out the front. You sit in the café and you get wafts of smoke coming through.

“There’s meant to be a fixed penalty notice of £80 for anyone caught smoking in hospital grounds. I’m not aware of anyone here who’s been issued with a fine.

“They hire an external cleaning company to come in and clean it all, and the whole area has to be closed off so that they can power wash it.

“It’s frustrating because that mess shouldn’t be there anyway. It’s a complete waste of money.”

A spokesman for CVUHB said they cared deeply about the issue of smoking on site and were taking steps to combat it.

“The UHB prohibits smoking anywhere on any of our sites. This is demonstrated by extensive signage.

“To enforce this policy, the UHB has, in conjunction with Cardiff Council, hired a new no smoking and waste enforcement officer who started in post in January.

“Patients are reminded before being admitted that hospital sites enforce a no smoking policy and can be prescribed nicotine replacements during their stay.

“Staff are also frequently reminded of the policy and know they must adhere to it. Failure to do so will result in disciplinary action from their line manager.”