Smokers who are due to go into hospital are being advised to ‘Stop Before The Op’.
Decades of data show non-smokers can have better outcomes after operations and often live longer than those who continue to smoke.
NHS West Essex Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) is encouraging patients to improve their own health before receiving non-emergency hospital treatment.
Patients who smoke and are being referred by their GP to a hospital specialist will also be referred to Stop Smoking services.
This service is provided by Essex County Council, and is available for everyone who lives or works in Essex. It consists of a free programme offering medication and nicotine replacement products as appropriate.
During the quitting process your health coach will offer you behavioural and motivational support and will work with you to reduce your reliance on stop smoking medication.
This support can be accessed face-to-face local and easy to access for you, via telephone and text or a combination of whatever suits your needs and lifestyle.
The service will contact you after you quit to see how you are getting on and if further support is required.
Patients will need to have at least one appointment with the Stop Smoking team, which offers appointments at over 200 locations including GP practices and pharmacies.
Christine Moss, Clinical Director, West Essex CCG and GP said, “Stopping smoking has huge benefits – better health, wealth, lifestyle and life expectancy. It’s never too late to give up and we know most smokers want to quit. You are four times more likely to be successful if you use the Essex Lifestyle Service to help you stop.”
Patients who smoke and have a ‘Stop Before the Op’ appointment will receive a signed ‘Smoking Passport’ which they can then give to the hospital, to show they have talked to the Stop Smoking team. This will form part of the patient’s hospital records.
‘Stop Before the Op’ will only apply to patients being referred from their GP to the hospital for non-emergency reasons; it will NOT apply for patients who are being referred for cancer investigations or who need emergency surgery.
Andy Morris, Chief Medical Officer, Princess Alexandra Hospital said: “There are additional risks associated with operating on people who smoke; wounds can take longer to heal and there is a greater risk of complication after surgery. Our doctors and surgeons welcome this decision, because stopping smoking is one of the best things anyone can do to improve their own health, and because it will improve the chances of getting a good outcome after surgery. We are pleased that the appointments will be for all patients (not just those who are being referred for surgery) because all patients with health issues could benefit immediately from stopping smoking.”
Jeffrey Elsey from Essex, who used the Stop Smoking service, said “I stopped smoking with the help of the Essex Lifestyle Service and I’m so glad that I did. The team was helpful and friendly and easy to get hold of whenever I needed them. I’d recommend them to anyone, they were all really understanding and helpful. I feel so much better now I’ve stopped. I have more energy; it’s easier to take the dog for a slow walk and we are going on a holiday with the money that I’ve saved. I’m so glad I’ve stopped.”
The Stop Smoking service in Essex is free to access for everyone who lives or works in Essex, and offers appointments at over 200 locations, including GP practices, pharmacies and dedicated clinics, so there are plenty of places patients can go for their Stop Before the Op appointment.