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First hospital to offer addiction therapy to all smoking patients

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A Greater Manchester hospital has become the first in the UK to offer addiction treatment to all of its patients that smoke.

For the first time anywhere in the country, all smokers admitted to Wythenshawe Hospital will be offered intensive support and medication to help them kick their tobacco addiction.

“It’s hugely exciting that Manchester is the first place in the UK to offer this support to smokers”

Matt Evison

Starting today, patients admitted to the hospital, which is part of Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust, will be prescribed medication and offered intensive support to stay smoke-free.

The CURE programme is being launched at the hospital to coincide with the first day of Stoptober, a national stop-smoking challenge that encourages smokers to get support to quit. 

The programme is modelled on a comprehensive approach to treating tobacco addiction in hospitals that has proven to be highly effective in Canada. Called the Ottawa Model for Smoking Cessation, it has helped 35% of smoking patients to quit and led to marked falls in re-admissions and mortality rates.

CURE forms part of Greater Manchester Health and Social Care Partnership’s Making Smoking History programme. Following an initial six-month phase at Wythenshawe, the programme is due to be rolled out in hospitals across Greater Manchester by 2020.

“Currently, only 6% of hospital patients who smoke are referred to specialist smoking cessation services”

Andy Burnham

As well as transforming lives, the trust noted that the initiative would free up thousands of hospital beds each year and save the NHS in Greater Manchester an estimated £10m a year.

Dr Matt Evison, consultant in respiratory medicine at Wythenshawe Hospital, said: “It’s hugely exciting that Manchester is the first place in the UK to offer this support to smokers.

“A stay in hospital is often a time where people focus on their health, whether or not they’re being admitted for a condition related to their smoking,” noted Dr Evison.

“There is no greater step a smoker can take to improve their health than stopping smoking,” he said. “But nicotine is highly addictive and smoking is a hard habit to kick without support and medication.”

He added: “The good news is that we have some very effective treatments for this disease, medications that help break this dependence on nicotine.

“I’m delighted that from today all smokers admitted to Wythenshawe Hospital will be provided with these treatments and supported by specialist smoking cessation nurses to help them quit,” he said.

At present, the trust noted that most patients with an addiction to tobacco were not offered help, support or treatment when they are admitted to hospital in the UK.



Andy Burnham

Andy Burnham, mayor of Greater Manchester, said: “The CURE Programme is part of our wider ambition for Greater Manchester to be the first city-region in Europe to make smoking history.

“Currently, only 6% of hospital patients who smoke are referred to specialist smoking cessation services,” said Mr Burnham, a former Labour health secretary.”

He added: “With the CURE Programme we want to make that 100% across Greater Manchester, so that those who want to quit get the best possible support to do so.”

Once embedded in hospitals across Greater Manchester, the target of the CURE programme is to help over 18,000 people to successfully quit smoking, and save over 3,000 lives in its first year alone.

It is estimated that the programme will deliver savings of nearly £10m per year, reducing readmissions and releasing around 30,880 bed days a year – equivalent to 84 beds per day.

CURE stands for:

  • Conversation (the right conversation every time)
  • Understand (understand the level of addiction)
  • Replace (replace nicotine to prevent withdrawal)
  • Experts and Evidence-based treatments (access to experts and the best evidence-based treatments)
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