SMOKE FREE Geelong Cardiology
SMOKE FREE Geelong Cardiology
Why this petition matters
We all know smoking and second hand smoke is bad for our health. It's clear that our community are working on protecting outdoor spaces from smokers with property signage, footpath stencils and education through advertising around health impacts from smoking.
Approximately 10 years ago I began enquiring as to smoking around the Geelong Hospital. I received the usual bureaucracy with no immediate action available.
2 years ago I was hospitalised after a routine chest xray and diagnosed with the heart condition HCM. Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy. A genetic disorder that now requires management through medication and monitoring every year by my cardiologist at the Geelong Cardiology Practice.
Upon approaching my first visit I was immediatly shocked to see staff and patients smoking cigarettes near the entrance on Bellarine st. I noticed bright signage on the building detailing a 100% smoke free zone. I also noticed bright yellow markings on footpath that indicated 100% smoke free zones. After my appointment I was compelled to inform reception staff; all frustrated and disgusted but well aware of the problem.
My second visit and all visits since have continued to be a problem and become worse. I notice more signage and increased zones but no change to attitude. This has continued to grow my determination for action. Exiting Cardiology i now walk up Bellarine from Cardiology exit to pedestrian crossing at the main entrance, cross over and walk back down to lights on Malop to avoid smokers.
I've contacted Barwon Health many times and they direct me to council. I've contacted council and although they offer to call Barwon Health with complaint I'm told they are complying with the law. I've also since contacted the Health Minister, Cancer Council, Quitline & EPA who've directed me back to Barwon health and COGG. I finished with reply from Barwon Health consumer liason and await an appointment with their executive staff. I'm also awaiting meeting with council. Clearly red tape is all over this problem and it's taking way too long to tear off!!
I note upon google searching that Barwon health have been active in this space. Intervention and support to smokers predominantly the action plan here. Recognition was received by the Global network for tobacco free healthcare for its stance on being active.. yet we still live this problem!
Technically Barwon health is following local By- laws and providing signage to protect the 4mtr exclusion zone from hospital entrances. My immediate concern is that after atleast 10 years of complaints you still cannot enter or exit the Cardiology Practice without walking straight through cigarette smoke from staff and patients.
It doesn't take too much common sense to know that besides the well publicised impacts to your health from smoking, the Cardiology Practice is specifically treating our community for these very impacts that we continue to suffer from this problem and it's happening right at their doorstep.
Another good example that comes to mind. Barwon Health have made the choice to make area near the birthing suite in Myers st be '100% smoke free'. In this case smoking bins are still present and located back to 4mtr exclusion zone. I have witnessed staff still smoking behind this area in an location behind boom gate next to public entrance. This choice is clearly shifting sand and a poor example of action. It simply protects an unborn baby from harm until its parent returns to the hospital for a visit with that child and needs to walk through cigarette smoke anyway!!
I propose the following plan and ask COGG to declare and enforce smoke free areas on all pathways around Barwon Health property using their powers in accordance with Clause 65 of the City of Greater Geelong’s Neighbourhood Amenity Local Law 2014.
- (REVISED 27/10) 100% smoke free zone be extended to the entire footpath around the Geelong hospital and all owned Barwon health properties.
- (REVISED 27/10) Smoking shelters or rooms in designated areas.
- Barwon Health policy reform.
- Clear signage of NEW smoke free policy detailed in an easy to read format for staff and the public.
Successful or not I will be submitting this issue to the COGG at next opportunity during council meeting. I hope the community stands with me on this but will continue to speak of this issue loudly until action is taken and poor policy is rectified.
I'm told I will be visiting Geelong Cardiology every year for the rest of my life.