By SALLY GORDON
STAFF at Clarence Valley hospitals in Maclean and Grafton soon will undergo intensive training to deal with a new smoking ban that will be introduced for all North Coast Area Health Service (NCAHS) facilities.
As of May 30, World No Tobacco Day, smoking on NCAHS grounds in the Clarence Valley will be banned.
This means that staff and patients at the Maclean District and Grafton Base hospitals will have to go outside the perimeter of hospital grounds if they want to indulge in a 'ciggie'.
The motto for the campaign is 'no smoke on health grounds'.
NCAHS already has introduced the campaign in hospitals at Tweed Heads, Byron Bay, Ballina and Mullumbimby. Thirty-three sites in the former Northern Rivers healthgoverned area eventually will become completely smoke-free. NCAHS smoke-free healthcare coordinator Annie Kia said that as of May 30 the designated smoking areas would be removed from each site.
She said hospital staff were about to start learning how to translate the no-smoking program into their daily hospital schedules.
"We currently are about to begin some intensive education of clinical staff to introduce a practice guideline for managing nico- tine dependance," Ms Kia said.