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Simon Pound: Slap On The Wrist

Slap On The Wrist

By Simon Pound

The best thing, the very best thing about this whole internet opinion indulgence is when someone sends a reply in that makes your day. This correspondence followed on from the pro-smoking rant below. Gold.

Read your blog on smoking in hospitals and felt I should drop you a line, being a public health doctor at Counties Manukau DHB and someone who helped develop the smokefree policy at Middlemore. As you note having public health system premises smokefree makes great sense in theory. Smoking is the single biggest cause of premature mortality and ill-health in the land and any DHB that didn't do what it could to reduce the harm due to smoking would not be doing its job, nor serving its public well. In practice it is supposed to make sense too - rather than being pushed off the grounds to smoke in the train station you are _supposed_ to be offered nicotine replacement patches. Which should take away the cravings, improve your lung function for anaesthetics, give you an idea of being able to live without cigarettes, etc etc. All good in theory but if no one actually offers you the patches then not much good in practice. You did choose the busiest time of the year to try our hospital (July/August) but that shouldn't stop us doing things right.

And sorry that the rest of your stay was not better - hope you are on the mend now.


And so I, feeling a bit silly, had to send a reply. I mean this guy and everyone else working in that hospital are saints really - they work like dogs and my complaining is the thanks they get. He even hoped I was on the mend. Chastened. Though if they'd tried to give me a nicotine patch I fear I would have completely lost my rag. The blog of course had some exaggeration for effect. Anyhow - this is what I sent back.

Hi there,

Thank you for your considered reply.

You will have to excuse me, I am just being the same petulant ungrateful sod I was when I was in your hospital. It is meant to be taken lightly and I'm sorry if you took it seriously as a reflection on the institution. I could equally have written a piece on the good experiences - though that would be less fun, and quite a bit shorter.
Smoking is my weakness and bugbear



Simon Pound is a BFM wire host - Thursdays - where he (on alternate weeks) interviews Scoop's Alastair Thompson and Selwyn Mannings at 1.30pm. The above was first published @

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