Patients and families who smoke asked to quit at Sheffield Children’s Hospital

Sheffield Children’s NHS Hospital Trust is implementing a groundbreaking stop smoking programme, which has the potential to save thousands of lives and hospital readmissions a year.

By Angela Furniss
Sunday, 6th March 2022, 7:30 am

The QUIT Programme is being delivered by South Yorkshire and Bassetlaw Integrated Care System (SYB ICS) in partnership with Yorkshire Cancer Research, five local authorities and local Stop Smoking Services.

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QUIT aims to transform the way smoking is tackled by the NHS by offering all patients aged 12 years or over who smoke access to Nicotine Replacement Therapy (NRT), such as patches, gum and lozenges, and specialist support as part of their routine hospital care.

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Sheffield Children’s is piloting its own QUIT scheme from February 28 on some wards before rolling it out across the hospital.

As part of the admissions process patients aged 12 and above will be asked if they smoke, or vape.

Any who say they do will be referred to the hospital’s team of specialist Tobacco Treatment Advisors and will be offered appropriate stop smoking support. The discussions will take place in private and any information volunteered will be dealt with in strict confidence.

Parents, carers and family members who smoke will also be offered a referral to the Tobacco Treatment Team so they can receive specialist support during the child’s admission and they can receive free NRT and ongoing support from an onward referral to the local community stop smoking service if they would find this helpful.

While the Tobacco Treatment Team will focus on the pilot areas to begin with, if any patient or parent on another ward would like support then they can also be referred to them.

Community-based stop smoking services will play a key role, ensuring medication and support is continued after leaving the hospital to give them and their family members the best chance of beating their tobacco addiction.

Trust staff who also want to stop smoking can receive NRT and support from the Tobacco Treatment Team.

Professor Sally Shearer, Executive Director of Nursing and Quality and Acting Deputy Chief Executive of Sheffield Children’s NHS Hospital Trust, said: “As one of only three specialist Children’s NHS Trusts in the country we, at Sheffield Children’s, are very aware that children are four times more likely to take up smoking themselves if they see their parents or family members smoke. And, nationally, it is estimated that parental smoking accounts for over 6,100 excess deaths per year in children.

“A child’s hospitalisation is an ideal opportunity to encourage those young people who have already started to smoke, to stop, but also their parents or carers. When surveyed, parents of paediatric patients have demonstrated that they would be willing to quit smoking. The provision of stop smoking support has proven effective in helping parents and carers to quit.

“Quitting will not only benefit the parent or carer’s long-term health but will reduce the likelihood of the child beginning to smoke in later years.”

The NHS now treats tobacco addiction as they would any other medical condition.

The QUIT Programme is being implemented in all hospitals across eight acute, mental health and children’s NHS Trusts in South Yorkshire and Bassetlaw.

Thanks to £1.8m in funding from Yorkshire Cancer Research, each hospital will have a team of Tobacco Treatment Advisors.