The BSW Partnership is to invest over £210,000 over the next twelve months on treating tobacco dependency and helping people in Bath and North East Somerset, Swindon and Wiltshire (BSW) to stop smoking and live healthier lives.
Treating local dependency on tobacco is a key strand of the NHS’s Long Term Plan for health and care. There is a national ambition to offer NHS funded tobacco cessation services to all smokers admitted to a hospital in BSW by 2024. This would include expectant mothers and their partners as well as higher risk outpatients from specialist mental health services and learning disability services.
Smoking is an ongoing concern in BSW. Figures from 2019 show that 13 per cent of people in Bath and North east Somerset (B&NES), 13.1 per cent of people in Swindon and 14.6 per cent of people in Wiltshire smoke. The national average figure for England is 13.9 per cent.
Smoking is the single largest avoidable cause of death and social inequalities in terms of life expectancy in the UK. The impact of tobacco dependency on the health service is significant. According to Public health England figures from 2017, the estimated annual cost to the NHS of treating smoking-related illness is £2.6bn. In primary care, smokers have a third more contacts with doctors and nurses than non-smokers.
The plans for BSW, which focus mainly on people admitted to our hospitals, provide an opportunity to address health inequalities, reduce hospital re-admissions, help local people stay well and save money across our health and care services.
The plans have been developed by a BSW Partnership working group which contains representatives from all local NHS Trusts, community providers and Public Health teams.
Penny Marno, Public Health Consultant at Swindon Borough Council and Chair of the BSW Treating Tobacco Dependency Steering Group said:
“Smoking is recognised globally to be the top modifiable risk factor driving death and disease and we know that, when people come to hospital, we have a great opportunity to have a conversation with them about their health and offer support to help them stop smoking.
“We have a strong record in BSW of working collaboratively to address smoking, through maintaining a range of community smoking cessation services when many areas of the country decommissioned theirs and working together to achieve NHS Smoke free status across our local health and care settings.
“This initiative is another step in the right direction in reducing the impact of smoking on both the health of local people and resources for our local health and care system.”
The impact of smoking
- Smoking tobacco is linked to over 100 different conditions, including at least 15 different types of cancer, 9 mental health conditions and numerous respiratory, cardiovascular and other disorders.
- Tackling tobacco dependence can also have a positive impact on health inequalities.
- Reported life expectancy for smokers is at least ten years shorter than for non-smokers.
- Smoking is linked to around 500,000 hospital admissions a year across England.
- Smokers see their GP over a third more often than non-smokers, with smokers being 36 per cent more likely to be admitted to hospital.
- The estimated annual cost to the NHS in England of treating smoking-related illness is £2.6bn, and secondary care avoidable costs are estimated at £890m per year.
- Stopping smoking can lead to shorter hospital stays, fewer complications, higher survival rates, better wound healing, decreased infections and fewer re-admissions after surgery.
- Maternal smoking during pregnancy costs the NHS in England approximately £21 million each year.
If you live in BSW and would like help to stop smoking, get in touch with