Young woman smoking a cigarette

NHS anti-smoking team saved 166 lives and £500,000, annual review reveals

The inaugural year of a north eastern NHS trust’s anti-smoking team has delivered promising results following a review from its Integrated Care System (ICS).

Conducted by North East and North Cumbria ICS, the evaluation looked at North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust’s tobacco dependency team, which provides any inpatient who is aiming to quit smoking with bespoke support and guidance.

The investigation found that, in its first year of work, the tobacco dependency team had saved 166 lives, created the equivalent of four spaces by reducing hospital readmissions, and achieved savings to the tune of almost £510,000, also by cutting hospital readmissions.

Marking her one year anniversary leading the team, the trust’s Tobacco Dependency Specialty Lead, Julie Bardsley, said: “This is brilliant news. Knowing we have helped save 166 lives is just incredible. I’m so proud of this team! I’m also thrilled to get this news on my anniversary in the job. We’re out and about on the wards, meeting patients and supporting them to quit.

“We provide nicotine replacement therapy to help manage cravings while they are in hospital and make sure that they have a supply to take home when they’re discharged. We work really closely with the medical teams to make sure everything we prescribe is compatible with any medication or treatment they are receiving.”

One of the key factors behind the team’s success is a commitment to not judging who they are helping, according to North Tees and Julie herself who added: “The absolute best way to help a smoker is to treat their addiction as a disease. That’s why having a clinical team in the hospital has proved so successful.

“We don’t criticise, we don’t look down on anyone, we just support.”

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