Hospital chiefs back bid to cut smoking numbers

South Tyneside NHS Foundation Trust Medical Director Dr Shaz Wahid and City Hospitals Sunderland NHS Foundation Trust Acting Medical Director Dr Paul McAndrew
South Tyneside NHS Foundation Trust Medical Director Dr Shaz Wahid and City Hospitals Sunderland NHS Foundation Trust Acting Medical Director Dr Paul McAndrew

Health bosses are supporting Stoptober - by reinforcing their commitment to becoming ‘smokefree’ organisations.

South Tyneside and City Hospitals Sunderland NHS Foundation Trusts say the move is in the interests of the health of patients, staff and the local community.

Tobacco use remains the single largest cause of health problems and premature death, with 18.7% of adults in the North East still smoking. For every death caused by smoking, approximately 20 smokers are suffering from a smoking-related disease.

Both South Tyneside and City Hospitals Sunderland NHS Foundation Trusts, which together employ over 10,000 NHS staff, are reminding employees that smoking is not permitted at work, as both organisations work towards becoming completely smokefree in future.

South Tyneside NHS Foundation Trust Medical Director Dr Shaz Wahid said: “Reducing smoking rates is a vital element of building a healthier society. As NHS organisations, we should lead by example and we’re proud to be aiming for smokefree status.

“Many people are in hospital because of smoking-related illness and if they continue to smoke it’s likely they will take longer to recover there will be serious implications for their long-term health and wellbeing. By helping to reduce avoidable illness, we are also helping to secure the sustainability of the NHS.

Under existing policy, staff are expected to refrain from smoking - which applies to all electronic cigarette or vaping devices and tobacco - at work.

Patients and visitors to Trust sites are only allowed to smoke in designated, clearly signposted smoking areas.

Any patient who is motivated to quit smoking can be referred into local public health stop smoking services and in-patients can be offered Nicotine Replacement Therapy.

For free advice in South Tyneside, call 0191 4247300 or go to www.change4lifesouthtyneside.co.uk.

For free advice in Sunderland, call 0800 107 0741 or 0191 5653482 or go to www.livelifewell.org.uk.