Fine Gael TD slams 'HSE smoking police'
The tough new anti-smoking rules that the HSE is planning to impose in HSE-run nursing homes have been slammed by Fine Gael party chair, Charlie Flanagan.
Mr Flanagan said the rules, which are designed to end the exempted status of nursing homes from the smoking ban, "fail to respect the dignity and liberties of senior citizens".
The Fine Gael deputy criticised proposals whereby elderly residents living in nursing homes will now have to sign "Smoking Disclaimer Forms".
Under the proposed new rules, residents will, if they continue to smoke, have to admit that they are doing so "contrary to the advice of the medical staff" and admit that they "intend to continue smoking against the advice of the medical/nursing staff".
The new rules also state that the above discussion "has been documented and witnessed by two staff members in the resident's medical notes".
It is also proposed that "smoking will not be permitted anywhere in the building or on the grounds" of all HSE-run "care settings".
Charlie Flanagan told the Sunday Independent : "This is the nanny State turned mad where the smoke police are taking away the last few comforts of the aged; even in prisons there are exempted areas for smoking".
Elderly people, he said, are going to be "particularly un-nerved by this smoking disclaimer form that resembles a two-page legal document that will also have to be signed before witnesses".
It was, he said, "a clamp-down too far by the HSE smoking police".
The Fine Gael chairperson added that "at a time of unique fiscal pressure, the HSE are wasting scarce resources on this smoking police".