A new programme, to help patients across the Wigan borough to manage tobacco addiction when they are admitted to hospital, has officially been launched at Wrightington, Wigan and Leigh Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.
The new CURE project team were formally introduced at the Trust’s Medical Education Centre, in support of the Greater Manchester Health and Social Care Partnership’s Making Smoking History programme, which aims to reduce smoking rates in Greater Manchester by a third to 13 per cent by the end of 2021 and to five per cent by 2027.
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.
This is a key focus for the NHS and a key ambition in the NHS 10 year plan. Greater Manchester is pioneering this field and have developed a comprehensive tobacco addiction treatment programme called the CURE Project.
Any adult admitted to WWL’s Royal Albert Edward Infirmary, who is identified as a smoker, will be referred to the dedicated CURE 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.
Additionally, the CURE team, made up of Clinical Smoking Cessation Practitioner, Sophie Connor and Smoking Cessation Practitioners, Sue Lundy and Debbie Myers, will provide training and support for staff across the Trust.
Sophie said: “We’re a small team with a lot to offer, aiming to make big differences to our patients by helping to change behaviours.
“Since we’ve been in post we’re seeing between 60 and 70 patients and around a 40 per cent take up on permanently giving up smoking.”
Silas Nicholls, WWL Chief Executive said: “The NHS should treat smoking as an addiction rather than a lifestyle choice and if we can save lives with this programme that is just fantastic.”
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.
People who stop or don’t smoke greatly reduce their risk of developing preventable diseases and dying prematurely. Quitting smoking is the single, most important thing someone can do to improve overall mental health/wellbeing in the long run.