A ban on smoking in hospital grounds is routinely flouted at the Victoria Hospital in Kirkcaldy, it has been claimed.
Hospital grounds in Scotland became smoke-free zones as of April 1 after a renewed ban was introduced by all health boards.
Patients, visitors and staff now have to leave the grounds before they light up under new laws.
The policy, which also covers health centres and other NHS buildings, has been adopted at the request of the Scottish Government.
But a regular visitor to the Victoria Hospital contacted The Courier to say “anti-social” smoking was still a health issue.
The woman, who asked not to be named, said: “I am amazed at the number of people standing smoking outside the doors at the Accident and Emergency section which is to the rear of the building. There are signs indicating that this is a no smoking area yet it appears they can congregate and smoke in this area without impunity.”
NHS Fife director of public health, Dr Edward Coyle, said: “Our smoking policy states that smoking is not permitted at any time for staff, patients, visitors, contractors or the general public within NHS Fife premises or on our grounds.
“In recent weeks we have supported the national ‘Green Curtain’ campaign, which seeks to raise awareness of the fact that NHS Scotland grounds are now smoke-free, and which was promoted nationally on TV, radio and in the press.
“In addition, NHS Fife also launched its own awareness-raising campaign to ensure that all patients and visitors are aware of our no-smoking policy before they arrive at any of our sites.
“Our ‘A Place to be Smokefree’ campaign, which launched on No Smoking Day, saw eye-catching new signage installed at all hospital sites across Fife, as well as on our vehicles and in bus shelters across the kingdom.
“The campaign was also promoted widely in the local press and on our social media channels.
“Furthermore, we employ a member of staff at the main entrance of our largest hospital, the Victoria Hospital, Kirkcaldy, specifically to further promote our no-smoking message.
“The board is working hard to do what it can to change attitudes and reinforce the message that smoking on hospital grounds is unacceptable.”