A FATHER has hit out that due to the layout of Basingstoke hospital, his newborn son’s first ever outside breath contained cigarette smoke.

Chris Pearson, from Kempshott, was at Basingstoke hospital for the birth of his son, Joshua on February 26.

While he was visiting the hospital on the day beforehand and on the day of the birth, he noticed that people were smoking immediately outside the maternity ward area, the Sherborne Building, despite signs saying not to.

Chris said: “When anyone leaves the building, there are either some people there smoking or the floor is covered in cigarette butts.

“It is disappointing that my child’s first outside breath should have cigarette smoke in it, it really isn’t very pleasant, and other than the signs, there is nothing to stop anyone smoking there.

“It’s not my son’s choice to breathe in the smoke, and it’s a selfish approach from the smokers. It is their choice where to smoke and they choose to be right outside the entrance and exit.

“I get it if people need to smoke, but there wasn’t anyone in the designated area.”

He also saw that the cigarette butts that were left on the floor were swept away, but would be back the next day, after people had been in the area.

Alex Whitfield, chief executive of Hampshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, which runs Basingstoke hospital, as well as hospitals in Andover and Winchester, said: “I am sorry to hear that Mr Pearson had this experience and would like to thank him for drawing our attention to this issue.

“I share his concerns about people smoking in this location and have asked our security team to monitor the area more closely.

“Smoking and vaping is only permitted within designated areas at all of our hospitals.

“The location of these areas has been carefully selected to minimise the impact on the health of people who do not smoke.

“We would ask that if you see somebody smoking outside of a designated area, please let a member of staff know.

“We highly recommend the Quit4Life service for smokers who would like some help to give up.

“The service has helped 2,860 Hampshire residents to stop smoking in the last year. Visit quit4life.nhs.uk for more information.”