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NICE guidance issued about secondary care and smoking - media enquiry

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Friday 29 November 2013

Media enquiry from BBC Radio Guernsey/Mark Inchley, Patrick Clahane

Health and Social Services Department response:

HSSD welcomes the new NICE guidance which gives us evidence-based techniques for successfully moving towards becoming a smoke free hospital site.  It is our intention to be a completely smoke-free site in the long run, although there is a lot still to be done in order to make this realistically achievable and to make sure that would be a change that lasts.

HSSD as an organisation takes seriously its responsibility to protect the health of staff and patients from the effects of second-hand smoke, and we are very grateful to staff who have made important changes to their routines to enable the current smoke-free policy to work well. Many of the actions described in the new guidance are already part of how we work on the PEH site. We have been smoke-free with the exception of two designated smoking shelters for a long time, and we believe that, for the most part, staff abide by the Policy. For example, there is no such thing as a 'smoking break'; staff may only smoke in their meal breaks. Anyone, staff or public, can get 10 weeks of free advice and support to go smoke free including NRT. Quitline always advise the participant's GP when NRT is prescribed.

The Department has to date worked very closely with staff representatives and listened to feedback that more time is needed before any further changes can happen. It is important that any policy that is adopted is right for Guernsey and the staff, patients and the public who will be affected.

It is already clear that careful consideration will need to be given to proposals for going completely smoke-free. There is staff accommodation on the PEH site, and staff may wish to smoke in their own time. Also, HSSD has many sites where staff work in health and in social care, some of which are residential. Our feedback from staff told us that people felt it was unfair to stop some staff from smoking on the site where they work, and not others.

Quitline plays a central role in helping both staff and patients to support a policy of becoming completely smoke-free. The Quitline Co-ordinator has recently worked with MSG consultants to ensure that they had all they needed in order to send patients who are smokers to Quitline to get ready to manage their stay in hospital and hopefully remain smoke free thereafter. We know that people recover from their surgery better if they can stop smoking in good time before the operation. We are planning to set up a dedicated Quitline clinic next year, for people who are smokers and will be coming into hospital as inpatients. Quitline advisers already visit the wards to support staff and patients to manage hospital stays without cigarettes and to encourage them to use this as a lead in to stopping smoking for good. NRT patches are always in stock on the wards.

The guidelines that are proposed by NICE are a good starting point, and will certainly be something that is considered carefully by the Department, alongside consultation as an essential part of the process in relation to developments in this area.

-ENDS-

Further information

Guernsey's Quitline Service can be contacted on 233170.

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