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NHS reform plans should prioritise smoking cessation, says PHE

NHS reform plans should prioritise smoking cessation, says PHE

Regional plans to overhaul the NHS should be used to help people quite smoking, the head of Public Health England has said
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Regional plans to overhaul the NHS should be used to help people quite smoking, the head of Public Health England has said.

In a letter to all NHS trusts, Duncan Selbie, chief executive of Public Health England (PHE), said tackling smoking is a “key priority” for sustainability and transformation plans (STPs).

He also outlined four recommendations for securing savings and improving health care that were previously mentioned in PHE’s Menu of Preventative Interventions for STPs.

The menu details secondary care’s responsibility of identifying smokers and offering advice and support to stop, “including referral to stop smoking services”.

Selbie also asked trusts to provide support to reduce the harm from tobacco, including temporary abstinence, cutting down to quit and long-term nicotine for smokers who are unable or unwilling to stop smoking in one step.

In his weekly message, he said: “Despite declines in prevalence over recent decades, more than 7 million adults in England still smoke and tobacco use remains the single largest cause of premature death, accounting for half of the health gap between the poorest and most affluent communities.

“The NHS brand is one of the most recognised and trusted in the UK and is a powerful symbol of health and wellbeing.

“However, the NHS is yet to give tobacco control the overt leadership that the scale of the problem warrants.”

From 2017/18 all community and mental health trusts will be required to publish information on the smoking status of their patients. Acute trusts will follow suit in 2018/19.

A PHE spokesperson added: "Public Health England regards specialist stop smoking services as an essential part of any local plan to reduce smoking and would encourage all health professionals in primary and secondary care to take any opportunity to speak with their patients who smoke about quitting and the benefits of using a specialist local service."

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