13 March 2019

By Julie Rudge, Specialist Sister and Service Manager, Hospital Stop Smoking Service

Every person reading this should be aware that smoking is bad for you. Not a day goes by without a headline stating that your life expectancy will be reduced and your likelihood of developing a multitude of illnesses will be increased if you smoke. But, for many people, even though they know the facts and want to give up, willpower alone isn’t enough to curb their habit and support is needed.

As today is No Smoking Day, I want to explain what we do here at SaTH to encourage and support those who would like to stop smoking. We believe that every day should be a No Smoking Day and are passionate about supporting our patients to quit with our Hospital Stop Smoking Service (HSSS).

When a patient who smokes comes into the hospital, whether as an outpatient or an inpatient, our staff are given a key ‘teachable moment’ to make a tangible difference to their long-term health. We can give them one-to-one advice on addiction, breaking habits and the treatments available to them. We will support them during their stay in hospital, with treatment if needed, and make sure they are supported in their journey when they are discharged. A fast-track referral system is in place regarding community services and all our patients have priority community appointments.

For any patients who aren’t ready to quit, we still offer treatment in hospital to cope with withdrawal symptoms whilst they are unable to smoke.

As a member of hospital staff, you will know that each patient should be asked their smoking status, their readiness to quit and be offered a referral to the Hospital Stop Smoking Service (HSSS) on admission; in clinic or in the Emergency Department. Smoking status is recorded on all admission care pathways, and on Patient Status at A Glance (PSAG) for inpatients.

If a patient asks to see an HSSS Specialist Nurse, you can refer them through our 24-hour referral service, and we can also be paged during working hours.

Quitting smoking can improve patients’ quality and quantity of life, and remains one of the primary causes of preventable illness and premature deaths in our country. Stopping at any time has considerable health benefits, and for the people in our Trust’s two hospitals, the Princess Royal in Telford and the Royal Shrewsbury Hospital, there are additional advantages including shorter hospital stays and fewer complications. Our HSSS aims, through our work, to reduce levels of smoking-related illness, disability, premature death. It can reduce the risk of post-operative complications, reduce recovery time, mean shorter hospital stays and save money for the NHS.

Liz Fildes, Clinical Nurse Specialist for the HSSS adds; “I feel passionate about supporting and encouraging patients to quit as I am an ex-smoker myself and have personally gained from the benefits of quitting for my health, family and my wallet!

“We are a small friendly team with many years of experience, and are committed to supporting each of our patients individually in a non-judgemental and understanding manner.”