Patients offered free support to tackle tobacco addiction in hospital

Patients across Tameside and Glossop will be offered specialist support to manage tobacco addiction when they are admitted to hospital.

The CURE project is a comprehensive tobacco addiction treatment programme in Greater Manchester, which is leading the way in this field. 

Delivering it in hospitals is seen as integral in achieving the Greater Manchester Health and Social Care Partnership's Making Smoking History programme - to reduce smoking rates in the region by a third to 13 per cent by the end of 2021, and to five per cent by 2027. This is faster than any other major global city and would mean 115,000 fewer smokers by 2021.

Locally, the CURE project is now being fully supported at Tameside Hospital - by Tameside and Glossop Integrated Care NHS Foundation Trust - from this week. 

Smoking tobacco is the single biggest cause of preventable death (one in two smokers die due to their smoking), illness, disability and social inequality in the United Kingdom. Stopping smoking is the single greatest thing that can be done to improve a smoker’s health now and in the future.

Acute hospitals see a concentrated population of smokers due to the illnesses caused by smoking, meaning hospitals provide an opportunity to offer highly effective treatment and support for smokers to stop. It's a key focus for the NHS and an important ambition in the NHS 10-year plan. 

Anyone who is admitted to hospital in Tameside, who is identified as a smoker, will be referred to the dedicated Tobacco Addiction team.

They will receive support and advice on managing their addiction and will be offered Nicotine Replacement Therapy (NRT), as well as other medications to manage their cravings during their hospital stay. They will also be signposted to ongoing treatment and support once they leave hospital from Be Well Tameside or Live Life Better Derbyshire.

Dr Muntasir Abdelaziz, who is the clinical lead for the CURE project at Tameside and Glossop Integrated Care NHS Foundation Trust, said: "People who stop or don’t smoke greatly reduce their risk of developing preventable diseases and dying prematurely. Quitting smoking can also improve mental wellbeing and your wealth." 

The CURE project focuses on two key elements: medicalising tobacco addiction to empower all healthcare professionals to proactively commence treatment with all smokers they encounter, and the provision of intensive behavioural change support through a team of highly expert stop smoking practitioners.

It was initially piloted at Wythenshawe Hospital in 2018 and initial results demonstrated high levels of screening for active smokers, high levels of stop smoking pharmacotherapy, high levels of engagement with intensive support with the CURE team and lead to just over one in five smokers admitted to hospital being abstinent from tobacco three months later.

Dr Matt Evison, Clinical Director of the Greater Manchester CURE Project, added: "This is a huge step forward for the project as we expand from the initial pilot to several acute hospital sites across a large healthcare organisation. Most importantly, it means a significantly higher number of smokers will have the opportunity to receive highly effective treatment and the support required to stop smoking." 

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