Vaping ban in the grounds of hospitals
The Western Trust has strengthened its strict no smoking policy to include no vaping on its grounds.
Staff are being warned that they may face disciplinary action if they fail to stick to the rules.
Staff have been directed to ask carers and service users who smoke, to refrain from doing so an hour before any scheduled visit and while they are there.
Dessie Lowry of the Royal College of Nursing described the threat of disciplinary action as "draconian".
He said: "We were presented with this policy as a fait accompli. We asked that our comments be taken on board and while we can't say for certain they weren't, the policy was published without the amendments we had requested.
"It is draconian to put staff on a disciplinary action and that was our view which was not taken on board."
The trust's medical director, Dr Dermot Hughes, said: "Staff should take pride in working in a smoke-free environment and ask anyone they see smoking to "stub it out" and advise them about our Smokefree policy and our stop smoking services. However, we equally need the support of the public to comply with our Smokefree Policy when they are visiting our trust properties."