A WOMAN with severe asthma has accused Worcestershire Royal Hospital of having a “blatant disregard for patient safety” by allegedly allowing people to flout its ‘no smoking’ policy on site.

Fern Bowkett suffers life threatening asthma attacks and has regularly been admitted into intensive care and put on mechanical ventilation over the last three years.

But the 25-year-old says inconsiderate smokers outside the Worcester hospital mean she has to 'risk her life' when she visits every two weeks for lifesaving injections to let her “live a relatively normal life.”

She said: “Every time I go to the hospital, I have to battle through an army of smokers to get through the main entrance.”

This is despite numerous no smoking signs across the hospital site, including the main entrance, and Ms Bowkett claims she has been sworn at when pointing this out.

She said: “Despite the signage, the rules are not being enforced and people like me are having to literally risk their lives to get into the very building that is supposed to be there to protect them.”

“A hospital should be a place of safety, not an endangerment to life.

Ms Bowkett, a trainee solicitor, wrote to WRH’s Patient Advice and Liaison Service (PALS) but was told, ultimately, there is no definitive way of enforcing the hospital's no smoking policy.

PALS liaison officer Jane Wylie said the hospital trust’s no smoking policy is “well advertised” and “has generally been a successful initiative” but while staff will “challenge offenders” there is “no way to legally enforce the ban.”

“If a smoker chooses to ignore the no smoking policy there is no remediation,” she said.

Ms Wylie added that patients and visitors may be turning to smoking as a “source of comfort at times of stress or sorrow” and others should be mindful of that.

But Ms Bowkett, whose condition was diagnosed in 2016, said that was “offensive and absurd.”

Recently, Sandwell and West Birmingham hospitals NHS trust brought in a zero-tolerance ban – with smokers subject to a £50 fine if caught smoking anywhere on site, even in cars.

Ms Bowkett, from near Ludlow, said it was time for Worcestershire Acute Hospital’s Trust and others to adopt the same policy.

She added: “For me, to have to risk my life every time I walk through those doors in order to receive life-saving treatment is just one irony too far.”

A spokesman for Worcestershire Acute Trust said: “We take all concerns about smoking on our sites seriously.

“We regularly remind staff, the public and patients that we are a smoke free site and would take this opportunity to again ask people to respect our no smoking policy.

“We continue to look into new ways in which we can reinforce this message to everyone visiting one of our hospitals.”