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Addressing winter pressures through treating tobacco dependency

Aug 2023
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This briefing lays out how tackling smoking can help ICBs make effective winter plans in line with the guidance from NHSE and simultaneously make strong progress on health inequalities and the prevention agenda, which form ICBs’ core purpose and objectives.

This briefing sets out:

  • how integrating smoking cessation into existing services in Trusts and the community, through collaboration with GPs and Local Authorities, will help to increase capacity and relieve winter pressures.
  • describes the relevance of smoking cessation to each of 10 the high impact areas highlighted in the NHSE winter pressures guidance, interventions to address tobacco that will help ICBs to deliver on these high impact areas, and relevant evidence.
  • maps interventions to the winter planning submission template.

The NHS Long Term Plan (LTP) made the commitment, enabled by dedicated funding, that by 2023/24 “all people admitted to hospital who smoke will be offered NHS-funded tobacco treatment services”, with a “new smoke-free pregnancy pathway” and “a new universal smoking cessation offer…as part of specialist mental health services”.

However, ASH and Cancer Research UK recently surveyed ICBs and reviewed ICP plans. They found a mixed picture in terms of activity and commitment to action on smoking which does not match the level of impact that smoking has on the healthcare system and beyond.