Around 40,000 healthcare professionals in England have been trained to offer stop smoking advice as part of a drive to make the NHS smokefree by 2019, according to Public Health England (PHE).
PHE confirmed the level of training that has been provided during a recent event held in Birmingham to promote the government’s latest tobacco control plan and the drive to make the NHS smokefree by 2019.
To support the plan, PHE said it was urging all NHS frontline staff to take advantage of free online training to help them give ‘very brief advice on smoking’.
This form of advice to patients, said PHE, had been shown to make them 68 per cent more likely to quit if they were offered stop smoking medication.
So far, 39,447 healthcare professionals have been trained to deliver effective stop smoking advice.
The financial burden to the NHS in England from smoking is calculated to be £2.6bn and last year more than half a million people ended up in hospital due to a smoking attributable condition.
PHE said it wanted to encourage all healthcare staff to undertake a 30-minute online course, provided by the National Centre for Smoking Cessation and Training, based around film clips providing examples of how brief advice could be delivered to patients.
Professor John Newton, director of health improvement at PHE, said: ‘A smokefree NHS is about helping smokers to quit while in the care of the NHS. It means all healthcare professionals doing what they can to encourage patients to stop, including offering on the spot support to fight cravings and banning smoking on NHS grounds.’
Public health minister Steve Brine said: ‘We now have strong laws helping people to quit and we need the NHS and its incredible staff to commit to a smokefree NHS.’