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NHS staff can help cut the 38,158 North East smokers ending up in hospital every year

Public Health England is urging all NHS frontline staff to take advantage of free online training to help them deliver effective stop smoking advice.


The latest figures show the burden to the NHS in England from smoking is £2.6billion . There is an urgent need across all parts of the NHS to support people to quit to improve the health of local populations and help secure the sustainability of the NHS.


The savings to the NHS for each patient referred to stop smoking services and prescribed nicotine replacement therapy is £13.00 each year for four years.


NHS England is allocating almost £600m in Commissioning for Quality and Innovation (CQUIN) schemes, including one which focuses on identifying and supporting people who smoke or who drink alcohol at higher risk levels. Under the scheme, additional funding is being made available to hospitals that help their patients to quit smoking.


PHE is encouraging all healthcare staff to undertake a 30 minute online course, provided by the National Centre for Smoking Cessation and Training, based around short film clips providing examples of how very brief advice can be delivered to patients; including key facts, figures and messages.


The evidence on 'Very Brief Advice' (VBA) interventions, where healthcare professionals discuss smoking with patients shows that, compared with no advice, the likelihood of quitting is 68% higher if stop smoking medication is offered.


PHE North East's Centre Director Professor Peter Kelly said: "The North East has led the way with this agenda with both Tees Esk and Wear Valley's NHS Foundation Trust and Northumberland Tyne and Wear NHS Foundation Trust already achieving smoke free status. A task force has is already established to support other NHS Trusts in the North East to go smoke free.


"Every year smoking costs the NHS in England a staggering £2.6billion and in the North East alone causes around 5,500 deaths. And for every death, a further 20 smokers are suffering from a smoking-related disease.


"Smokers respond well to healthcare staff giving advice and as health professionals we have a duty to take every opportunity to help end the needless, preventable misery and suffering smoking causes.


"A truly smokefree NHS isn't just about banning smoking on hospital grounds, it's about healthcare staff doing all they can to encourage patients and visitors, as well as colleagues to lead by example, to stop.


"The good news is that the training is easily accessible and effective. We're seeing record breaking successful quit rates this year. Most smokers want to quit and all healthcare staff should seize the moment and be ready to intervene and have that crucial chat about smoking."


There has never been a better time for people to quit and for healthcare professionals to discuss quitting with their patients. The ban on attractive branding on packs, together with better and more quitting options including e-cigarettes, stricter controls on smoking in public and supportive campaigns like PHE's Stoptober, have all contributed to successful quit attempts in the first six months of this year being at a record high, with almost 20% remaining smokefree a year after quitting.