Progress towards smokefree mental health services



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This report presents the findings of a survey of NHS mental health trusts in England conducted by ASH for Public Health England in Spring 2019. It examines whether the Government’s objective for all mental health trusts to be smokefree by 2018 has been achieved. It describes both the extent to which smokefree policies and support to quit smoking has been adopted and the reality of local practice in delivering these policies.

The survey finds that:

  • 1 in 5 mental health trusts still do not have a comprehensive smokefree policy in place, despite the Government deadline for implementation having passed last year
  • Staff behaviour often enables smoking, with staff accompanying patients on smoking breaks every day in 57% of trusts
  • In 55% of trusts, patients were not always asked if they smoked on admission
  • Only 47% of trusts offered the choice of combination NRT or varenicline in line with NICE best practice

Although smokefree policies are now well established in some mental health trusts, others still have much to do to normalise smokefree practice for staff and patients. This new study describes how far trusts have come, and how much has been achieved, while also identifying areas where further progress is needed.

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