On 1 January 2018 Somerset Partnership NHS Trust joins many other parts of the NHS by going Smokefree. This means there will be no smoking anywhere on our hospital and community sites including the grounds and gardens.
Why are we doing this?
This is to ensure that we provide a safe, healthy environment for staff, patients and visitors and minimise the risk of harm to others (e.g. passive smoking).
Smoking is the main cause of preventable illness and premature death in England. It causes a wide range of diseases and medical conditions, including cancers, respiratory diseases, coronary heart disease, impotence and infertility.
Smoking is the single largest cause of premature death and preventable ill health in England and one in two long term smokers die prematurely as a result of smoking. People who experience a mental health problem are a particularly high risk group and have a reduced life expectancy of around 10-20 years; 70% of these deaths were as a result of smoking related illness.
As a healthcare organisation we will be meeting our responsibilities under The Health Act (2006), the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) guidance on smoking in secondary care services (2013) and the NICE Quality Standard 82 Smoking: reducing tobacco use (2015).
What does it mean for patients?
As a Trust, we recognise it can be difficult to stop smoking and we are making sure there is support available to anyone who wishes to quit for good. For those who do not wish to give up for good, help is available to combat nicotine cravings while on the premises or in our care.
If you are having a planned admission, the best thing you can do is to contact Smokefreelife Somerset on telephone 01823 356222 and ask for Nicotine Replacement Therapy (NRT) to use during your hospital stay. This will mean that you won’t crave for cigarettes during your stay and you can start using the product before you arrive if you wish. Other forms of support will be available.
If you have an unplanned or emergency admission, you can ask any nurse or doctor to give you NRT to help with your nicotine withdrawal symptoms, all wards have staff who are trained in supporting patients undergoing tobacco withdrawal.
Either way hospital admission will provide patients with a supportive Smokefree experience that will provide an opportunity to remain smoke free after discharge.
Even if you are not being admitted as an inpatient, Somerset Partnership, your GP and the Smokefreelife service are encouraging you to seek the help and support you need from any of us to help you to stop smoking.
Thank you for helping to improve the health and wellbeing of our patients, visitors and staff now and into the future as a totally Smokefree NHS becomes a reality.