TWO major hospitals in the North-East are to enforce a total ban on smoking from next month.

The James Cook University Hospital in Middlesbrough and The Friarage Hospital in Northallerton, North Yorkshire are to stop people from smoking cigarettes on hospital premises from April 1.

Under the remit of South Tees Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, the banning date for the two hospitals is part of a national plan for hospitals to go smokefree in an attempt to reduce the number of serious illnesses linked to smoking.

Clive Peedell consultant clinical oncologist across both hospitals said: “We want every patient to have the very best outcome and the chances of a healthy recovery greatly improve with quitting smoking.

“By going smokefree, we aim to bring significant benefits for the health and wellbeing of everyone who uses our hospitals and services.

"A key part of this will be helping patients coming for a short stay in our hospitals to abstain from smoking.

“If you’re a patient, you have a lower risk of serious complications after operations if you don’t smoke.

"Quitting smoking helps people recover quicker from periods of illness or injury and have a lower risk of re-admission."

As part of the ban next month, the trust will offer brief stop smoking advice and support to all patients attending either site.

Main entrances will also be rebranded to include anti-smoking messages.

Chief executive of South Tees Hospitals NHS Foundation Siobhan McArdle said: “I am personally committed to ensuring all our hospital sites become smokefree from 1 April and that our patients, visitors and staff can walk through clear air as they come through our hospital entrances.

“As part of our smokefree NHS pledge we are making sure staff and patients are provided with the advice and tools they need to quit smoking, or at least abstain whilst on our hospital sites, and our smokefree security team will have an increased presence at our entrances.”

The ban brings the government's pledge to create smokefree NHS estates by 2020 closer to completion.

In the North-East alone, every NHS trust has signed up to the smokefree NHS pledge meaning other hospitals will follow suit.