ASH Daily News for 18 January 2019



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UK

  • Public health and social care ignored in £20bn NHS reforms, according to National Audit Office
  • Essex pension fund invests in tobacco companies
  • Smokers discard 192 tonnes of cigarette butts on Yorkshire streets

Link of the week

  • A change in the air: Results of a study of smokefree policy and practice in mental health trusts in England

 

UK

Public health and social care ignored in £20bn NHS reforms, according to National Audit Office

Cuts to public health and training coupled with the neglect of social care risk derailing the £20 billion NHS reform plan, the National Audit Office (NAO) warns in a new report published today.

Ministers have funnelled cash into the NHS but “key areas of health spending” have so far been ignored and unless money is committed to them the health service might not be able to deliver its promises to patients, the NAO says. The watchdog also points out that the money applies only to NHS England rather than broader health spending. Councils’ public health budgets for issues such as smoking and obesity have been cut by a quarter since 2014, even as ministers say that preventing illness will be crucial to the future of the NHS.

Sir Amyas Morse, Auditor General of the NAO, said that while the NHS will “undoubtedly be the envy of other departments”, decisions about public health, social care and training in this year’s spending review will determine whether the NHS plan is achievable.

Source: The Times, 18 January 2019

See also: National Audit Office – NHS financial sustainability

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Essex pension fund invests in tobacco companies

£155,316 from Essex County Council’s £7 billion pension fund has been invested in British American Tobacco.

Councillor Martin Terry described the decisions as “outrageous” and said investing in tobacco companies was contrary to the council’s smoking reduction schemes. Councillor Susan Barker, chairman of the Essex Pension Investment Steering Committee at Essex County Council, said “Our aim is to ensure maximum return on investment.”

Source: Yellow Advertiser, 17 January 2019

See also: ASH – Local authority pension funds and investments in the tobacco industry

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Smokers discard 192 tonnes of cigarette butts on Yorkshire streets

Smokers are discarding 192 tonnes of cigarette butts in streets across Yorkshire and the Humber every year. Smokers in Yorkshire and The Humber consume approximately 8.4 million cigarettes every day. Roughly 7.3 million are filtered, resulting in around one tonne of waste daily. This represents 456 tonnes of cigarette waste annually, of which 192 tonnes is thrown away as street litter – enough to fill 8,247 standard wheelie bins every year.

Charles Bloom, managing director of Independent British Vape Trade Association (IBVTA) member Vapourcore.com, said: “Cigarette waste is a huge problem. Today, consumers are more conscious of waste than ever before. Now, people think twice before purchasing a plastic bottle or disposable coffee cup – even a straw – and the very same mentality should be applied to cigarette butts.”

Source: Halifax Courier, 17 January 2019

See also: ASH – Ready Reckoner

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Link of the week

A change in the air: Results of a study of smokefree policy and practice in mental health trusts in England

ASH, the Mental Health & Smoking Partnership and Cancer Research UK’s new report A change in the air examines the smokefree policies and practices of mental health trusts in England and describes the progress made in implementing NICE guidance PH48.

Key findings from A change in the air reveal:
• 79% of mental health trusts surveyed had implemented comprehensive smokefree policies prohibiting smoking in all interior and exterior spaces including hospital grounds;
• 87% of mental health trusts surveyed supported vaping by some or all of their patients but policies varied in where vaping was permitted;
• Reported benefits of smokefree policies included more patients and staff quitting smoking, cleaner wards, better air quality, less staff time spent on smoking breaks, and improvements in patients’ physical health and wellbeing.

Read Report