Becoming a smokefree NHS is not just about stopping people from smoking on hospital sites. It’s about improving the health of staff and patients by identifying those who smoke and offering them practical support to quit.
Every week doctors and nurses see the impact of smoking as they treat patients with conditions such as cancer, heart disease, lung disease and stroke.
But as part of the Trust’s smokefree pledge The James Cook University Hospital in Middlesbrough, the Friarage Hospital in Northallerton and the Trust’s community hospital wards will all be providing nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) to smokers who have to stay in hospital overnight.
They will also be offering brief stop smoking advice and support to all patients attending for clinics and routine procedures, signposting those who want to quit to local stop smoking cessation services.
The Trust is rebranding its main entrances with its Time to Clear the Air message, has trained up 60 smokefree champions, is providing on site stop smoking support for staff, has launched online smokefree training for staff and has created dedicated webpages at www.southtees.nhs.uk/about/smokefree.
Chief executive 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.”
Clive Peedell, consultant clinical oncologist at South Tees, 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.
“People who don’t smoke also have a lower risk of wound infections and have a better chance of a shorter stay in hospital. We also know that patients undergoing cancer treatment like radiotherapy, also have better outcomes if they don’t smoke or stop smoking.
“We hope that visitors and members of the public will support us to help patients quit smoking by respecting the rules not to smoke on site.”
The move to a smokefree environment follows a commitment in the ‘Next steps on the NHS five year forward view’ to focus on identifying people who smoke and supporting them to quit, as well as creating smokefree NHS estates by 2019/20.
All North East trusts have signed the smokefree NHS pledge. Tees, Esk and Wear Valleys NHS Foundation Trust and Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust have already been successful in introducing it.
Ian Hayton, chief fire officer, Cleveland Fire Brigade said: “Smoking places a heavy burden on public services, being a key contributory factor for fires within the home and is linked to amongst other things; cancer, heart disease and stroke. Going smokefree will assist to protect others from second hand smoke exposure. We commend this move and encourage other organisations and businesses to consider it.”
Ailsa Rutter OBE, director of Fresh, said: “We hugely welcome work by South Tees to look at ways they can support more smokers to quit their tobacco dependency. Smoking is our single biggest cause of preventable illness and early death and it results in nearly half a million hospital appointments every year.”
Duncan Selbie, Public Health England’s chief executive added: “Most smokers want to stop smoking but it can be very hard to succeed without help and support. By putting quitting advice and support at the heart of their policy, South Tees provides an excellent example for other trusts to follow.”
For more details visit NHS smokefree webpages.