SANDWELL and West Birmingham Hospitals NHS Trust has brought in a zero-tolerance ban on lighting up – with smokers subject to a £50 fine if caught smoking anywhere on site, even in cars.

As severe asthma sufferer Fern Bowkett has said, "it's about time" Worcestershire Acute Hospital's Trust did the same.

Sandwell and West Birmingham have special wardens patrolling the grounds, while red lines have been painted at the site boundaries marking the spot where people can and can't smoke.

It maybe sounds a bit OTT, but the no smoking policy currently in place at Worcestershire Royal is clearly not having the correct impact.

And that's because there is no way for staff to impose the ban. I'm not blaming them, it's as much a Catch-22 for staff as it is for someone like Ms Bowkett.

In this day and age, with all the research being done into the risks of second-hand smoking, it beggar's belief that major changes weren't introduced years ago. Especially when you consider Ms Bowkett's condition and how easily smoke could trigger it.