From 9 March 2016 (National No Smoking Day) all Trust premises, including in-patient gardens and courtyards became totally smokefree, meaning service users, staff and visitors are no longer be able to smoke tobacco on any Trust premises.
The decision comes following the publication of NICE recommendations and guidelines, which require all mental health providers to become smokefree. The recommendations also highlight high smoking rates and lower life expectancy rates amongst those living with mental health problems. We have a duty of care to our service users and by going smokefree we aim to significantly increase the physical and mental health of our service user’s as well as their life expectancy.
A number of our staff are trained to provide advice, guidance and support in nicotine management. Should you wish to find out more please speak to your care provider.
In February 2018 we signed the NHS Smokefree Pledge, a way of visibly showing our commitment to helping people to quit smoking and to providing smokefree environments.
Hear what people have to say about our smokefree policy
“I am passionate about the benefits to stopping smoking and I have personal experience on how hard this challenge can be. I want to support others to break the habit and start a smokefree life.” Lynda Tench, project support officer, physical healthcare project at TEWV
“I want to help promote a healthy lifestyle to service users and staff and support them in achieving and having the benefits of not smoking. I welcome a smokefree environment to work in and to help develop other activities that service users and staff could benefit from to achieve a healthier lifestyle.” Colin Hough, healthy living advisor at TEWV
“We realise the concerns that many smokers will have at the prospect of not being able to smoke anywhere on Trust grounds. We have been working closely with the Trust over the last year to make sure that the concerns of service users and carers have been listened to. Support and alternative nicotine products are readily available within the Trust for inpatients, and those who wish to use the opportunity to quit permanently will be given on-going support to do so. Time that was spent by staff in helping to facilitate smoking breaks is being used more productively with service users on a range of therapeutic activities, and nobody should be concerned that the removal of smoking breaks will limit their one-to-one access to staff or outdoor areas. We will continue to work with the Trust to make sure that the smokefree policy is monitored by service users and carers and results in better mental and physical health outcomes for patients.” Catherine Haigh, chair of North East Together
“The impact of smoking on health is well known, but its perhaps less well known that people with mental ill health suffer such a massive burden on their physical health because of higher smoking rates. A shocking reality is that around one-third of all tobacco smoked in the UK is used by people with a mental health condition, and this contributes to them dying on average 10-15 years younger than the rest of the population. In this day and age, that is unacceptable, especially when so many people with mental health issues would like to be able to quit but don’t get the support they need to do so. All of us working in or commissioning mental health services have a responsibility to improve the physical health of service users as well as their mental health. Findings from other Trusts around the country which have already gone smokefree show that quitting tobacco can have a positive impact on overall wellbeing by reducing levels of depression and anxiety, as well as putting more money into ex-smokers pockets. The North East and Cumbria CCG Forum, made up of all of our Clinical Commissioning Groups in the region, supports the commitment of both of our North East mental health Trusts to go fully smokefree, and the measures that they have put in place to support smokers with this transition. We think this is an important and bold step and they have our support and congratulations.” David Hambleton, chief executive of South Tyneside CCG on behalf of The North East and Cumbria CCG forums
“One of our biggest challenges in getting smoking rates down is to make sure people with mental health problems don’t get left behind. Smoking rates among this group are unacceptably high with an estimated one in three cigarettes smoked by someone with a mental health problem. Mental health trusts have a key leadership role in improving the physical health of their patients. Becoming smokefree provides an excellent opportunity to help improve health during inpatient stays and demonstrates our ambition to address the inequality experienced by people living with mental health problems. We very much welcome this positive step being taken, which will help tackle the major health inequalities people with mental health problems experience.’’ Professor Kevin Fenton, national director of health and wellbeing at Public Health England
“People with mental health issues suffer an appalling level of death and disease as a result of being more likely to smoke, and to smoke more heavily, but people receiving support often would like to be able to quit and can be supported to do so successfully. We support the trusts’ efforts to go smokefree and help patients manage the nicotine in cleaner ways that don’t kill half of all users.” Ailsa Rutter, director of fresh
“Smoking remains by far the largest single preventable cause of death and serious illness in the country. People with mental illness are amongst those at greatest risk and for too long we have not paid enough attention to helping them to quit smoking. The move of the two North East Mental Health Trusts to become smokefree shows great leadership and is a big step forward in improving the health of their patients and staff. The North East Directors of Public Health welcome this and urge all NHS Trusts to follow this example and to become truly smoke free environments to protect the health of patients and staff alike.” Professor Peter Kelly, on behalf of the Association of Directors of Public Health in the North East
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