The Royal Wolverhampton NHS Trust (RWT) is officially smoke free for staff, patients and visitors. This came into effect as of 1 October 2020.
The Trust made the decision to go smoke free in line with the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence, who recommend that all hospital sites should be 100 per cent smoke free; helping to create a culture where smoking is no longer considered ‘the norm’, while protecting local communities from preventable illness.
This is because second-hand smoke has been evidenced as extremely damaging to human health, while the most vulnerable groups such as pregnant women, children and those with lung conditions are at high risk of serious complications such as lung cancer and heart disease.
In fact, smoking remains the largest preventable cause of death in Wolverhampton and is responsible for over 2,000 hospital admissions a year.
With this in mind, smoking has been stopped on all Trust sites, including the grounds, outside building entrances and in vehicles.
Trust staff went smoke free back in January 2020 in order to prepare themselves for the change; ensuring they were able to adjust before supporting patients and visitors to abstain from smoking whilst on-site.
For those patients who are admitted to a hospital ward, support to temporarily abstain, to cut down or quit smoking will be offered as they arrive, while vaping will be allowed in the on-site ‘Quit Zones’. This is because evidence shows e-cigarettes to be a safer alternative to smoking and a helpful aid for those who wish to stop smoking altogether.
A number of nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) products, such as gum and patches, can be prescribed by staff and are also available to buy at Boots pharmacies located in New Cross and Cannock Chase Hospitals.
Professor David Loughton, Chief Executive for RWT, said: “We are all living in a challenging and stressful time due to the COVID-19 pandemic - and we appreciate that this may leave some people wanting to smoke while at work or while accessing our services - but smoking remains to be one of the biggest causes of death in this country and that cannot be ignored.
“Through the NHS Long Term Plan, every smoker admitted to our hospitals will now be offered support to quit, while outpatients and staff will be signposted to a number of free resources.
"We are extremely proud to be making this change which actively encourages healthy behaviours and reduces the risk of harm to others."