Stub it out’. That’s the message to smokers as all NHS sites across B&NES, Swindon and Wiltshire begin their nine month countdown to become completely smoke free

From Tuesday 1 January 2019 all NHS sites and services across Bath & North East Somerset, Swindon and Wiltshire will be smoke free.

In nine months’ time staff, patients and visitors (including contractors and suppliers) will no longer be able to smoke anywhere on NHS sites, including the grounds and gardens or in vehicles and car parks. Some NHS providers may become smoke free before Tuesday 1 January 2019.

The decision to become completely smoke free is in line with The Health Act (2006) and The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE 2013) guidelines which state that all hospital sites, including mental health hospitals, and sites where NHS services are provided, should be 100% smoke free.

Duncan Selbie, Chief Executive of Public Health England, has written to the Chief Executives of every NHS Trust in England calling for their personal commitment to becoming a smoke free NHS.

Across B&NES, Swindon and Wiltshire all NHS providers are committed to no tobacco use on site and providing support to staff and patients to either stop smoking or manage their nicotine dependency while at work or during their stay in hospital.

Dr Ian Orpen and Dr Christine Blanshard, co-chairs for the BSW STP Clinical Board, said:
“Currently many of our NHS sites and providers have designated areas for smoking, which are used by staff, patients and visitors. From Tuesday 1 January 2019, this will no longer be the case. “The buildings have been smoke free for several years, but the introduction of this new policy across B&NES, Swindon and Wiltshire, means smoking and tobacco use will not be allowed anywhere on site, even in car parks.

“We want to send out a clear message that smoking severely damages your health and can slow down your recovery time after an operation or procedure. We will be providing support for our staff and patients to help them become smoke free, should they wish to.

“We understand that some people may not wish to stop smoking and we will be providing them with assistance to ensure that during their stay in hospital or whilst at work they can abstain by using Nicotine Replacement Therapy (NRT) and support from our stop smoking advisors. “E-cigarettes are currently the most popular method for quitting amongst smokers so we will be looking at how we can support smokers who wish to use these devices.”

The announcement is being made nine months ahead of the implementation of smoke free NHS sites to ensure widespread awareness and provide time for those who do smoke to prepare for the change.

Some of the measures that will be used to ensure staff, patients and visitors are aware of the policy change include:

  • New on-site signage
  • Messages in patient letters
  • Training for all frontline staff to help patients stop or abstain from smoking
  • Events to promote the new policy

For staff, patients and visitors who want to stop smoking before Tuesday 1 January 2019:

  • A range of information and support on how to stop smoking is available at nhs.uk/smokefree
  • Face to face advice on Nicotine Replacement Therapy (NRT) and or E-cigarettes is available from your local pharmacy, your GP surgery and local stop smoking services.