03 September 2020
A new scheme soon to be introduced across Greater Manchester is already breaking records at one Manchester hospital, where a record number of patients are receiving dedicated support to quit smoking.
Despite a report published recently by the British Thoracic Society warning of slow progress and poor support in smoking cessation services across UK hospitals, Wythenshawe Hospital, part of Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust is bucking the trend, with a dedicated service named ‘CURE’, delivering promising results to a record number of patients.
The scheme offers each patient admitted to the hospital a package of stop smoking support, including an assessment of their addiction level, tailored nicotine replacement therapy, additional stop smoking medications and support from dedicated nurses.
According to the BTS report, only 43% of smokers in hospitals across the UK were asked if they would like support to stop smoking, compared to over 90% at Wythenshawe Hospital. Furthermore, less than a third of patients nationwide were offered suitable nicotine replacement therapy (30%) or specialist nurse support (17%); Wythenshawe Hospital’s team offered over 80% of patient smokers nicotine replacement options and specialist nurse support.
The project has helped just over 1 in 5 smokers admitted to Wythenshawe Hospital to quit smoking and since its launch in October 2018 has supported over 4500 smokers. The CURE project is soon to be introduced at other Greater Manchester hospitals to offer the same support to more smokers across the region.
Leading the scheme is Dr Matt Evison, a lung specialist at Wythenshawe Hospital.
He explains: “A stay in hospital is often a time where people focus on their health, especially during the current climate of Covid-19. There is no greater step a smoker can take to improve their health than stopping smoking, but nicotine is highly addictive and smoking is a hard habit to kick without support and medication.
“Nicotine itself is a relatively harmless substance and does not cause the diseases of smoking. It is the thousands of very harmful chemicals produced when tobacco is burnt that do the damage. Smoking tobacco is the single biggest cause of preventable death, illness, disability and social inequality in this country. A top priority for the NHS must be, therefore, to help smokers to stop using tobacco.
“Hospitals have an excellent opportunity to provide smokers with the right information & advice, to offer the broad range of highly effective medications to treat the addiction to tobacco and offer the support of a trained specialist in stopping smoking during their inpatient stay. The CURE project has demonstrated just what can be achieved when we offer dedicated support to every patient, from dedicated nurses to medications that help to break the dependence on nicotine and tobacco.”
Following the success of the project at Wythenshawe Hospital, the CURE scheme is being introduced to other Greater Manchester hospitals in the coming months, to support more smokers across the region to quit, including Salford Royal, part of the Northern Care Alliance (NCA).
Dr Pete Turkington, Salford Royal Chief Officer, Medical Director and respiratory consultant, said: “The NCA is committed to supporting our patients whatever their decision; whether it’s simply abstaining while they are on our premises or whether they choose to use the support from CURE as a positive opportunity to finally quit smoking for good.
“We have a responsibility to protect our patients, visitors and staff from any danger or risks and there is no safe level of exposure to cigarette smoke.
“We’re looking forward to launching CURE across the NCA and with everyone’s support, we hope to make all our hospital sites completely smoke-free for the benefit of everyone who is using them.”
For more information about the CURE project, visit www.thecureproject.co.uk, or for stop smoking advice now visit YouCanGM.org to find information and details of stop smoking services and support across all 10 boroughs of Greater Manchester.
Alternatively, you can call the NHS Stop Smoking helpline free on 0300 123 1044.
For more information, contact Anna Perkins, Communications Lead at Greater Manchester Cancer, via email@example.com or 07787274239
 Evison et al, Clinical Medicine, 2020 https://www.rcpjournals.org/content/clinmedicine/20/2/196