Proposals are being put forward to make Shropshire’s two acute hospitals smoking-free areas by the end of the year.
The move is part of The Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust’s (SaTH) mission to help the people it serves become the healthiest half million on the planet.
Smoking is the largest single preventable cause of ill health and premature death in the UK and therefore, as part of SaTH’s mission, smoking will not be permitted by anyone coming onto the grounds Royal Shrewsbury Hospital or Princess Royal Hospital in Telford, or any of the Trust’s other sites, from 1 January 2018.
Simon Wright, Chief Executive at SaTH, said: “When our Organisational Strategy was launched in September 2016 it outlined plans to make the people we serve the healthiest half million population on the planet.
“When outlining our mission six months ago I admitted it was a bold statement to make, but one we should aspire to achieve.
“Tackling smoking is not only a key priority for us but also the Shropshire and Telford & Wrekin Sustainability and Transformation Plan (STP). We have already stopped the sale of sugary drinks and sweets in our Women and Children’s Centre in support of moves to tackle diabetes and tooth decay.
“The burden smoking puts on our hospitals, and the NHS as a whole, is huge. Annually, around 475,000 hospital admissions in England are attributable to smoking and the total annual cost is estimated at £2 billion, with a further £1.1 billion in social care costs.”
Simon added: “I appreciate their will be concerns and questions about our plans to transform our Trust into a smoke-free environment, and that is why we will be working with staff and patients over the next nine months to get their opinions to ensure we implement the policy in the best way possible.
“We will also be supporting staff who want to give up smoking by providing access to smoking cessation groups, one-to-one sessions with a trained smoking cessation practitioner, as well as nicotine replacement therapy in the form of patches, lozenges and inhalators.
“The NHS brand is one of the most recognised and trusted in the UK and is a powerful symbol of health and wellbeing. By working together I believe we can make our Trust a place which provides a supportive smoke-free environment for patients, staff and visitors.”