Medway NHS Foundation Trust signed the NHS Smokefree Pledge to mark the two-year anniversary of Medway Maritime Hospital becoming a smoke-free site on Wednesday, 17 October.
In doing so, Medway becomes the first acute trust in the south east to join the scheme, which commits to helping staff and patients alike quit smoking while continuing to ensure that its site remains smoke-free.
In October 2016 Medway Maritime Hospital became smoke-free as part of a drive to protect and improve the health and wellbeing of patients, visitors and staff.
Since then the Trust has worked with Medway Council’s Stop Smoking Service to support its patients and staff to kick the habit, through the use of various forms of nicotine replacement therapy and specialist stop smoking sessions for staff.
'We are determined to help as many smokers quit as possible'
Lesley Dwyer, Chief Executive of Medway NHS Foundation Trust, said: "Medway NHS Foundation Trust is delighted to sign the NHS Smokefree Pledge. We are determined to help as many smokers quit as possible, improving their health and reducing the challenges placed on the NHS from smoking-related illnesses.’’
Reflecting on the Trust’s smoke-free anniversary, she added: "We are extremely proud to have been smoke-free at Medway for two years, which has made the hospital a much healthier environment for our staff, patients and visitors.
“The support we have received from the Medway Stop Smoking Service has been exceptional – they have advised almost 2,000 of our patients and staff about the dangers of smoking and what they can do to quit."
'We are committed to supporting our residents'
Cllr David Brake, Medway Council's Portfolio Holder covering Public Health, said: "I would like to praise Medway Maritime Hospital for reaching its two-year smoke-free anniversary and for committing to the NHS Smokefree Pledge. Medway’s Stop Smoking Service helps residents quit and it is fantastic that we have been able to continue to support the hospital as well as patients, staff and visitors. We are committed to supporting our residents and we have a new digital stop smoking service which provides other ways to help people quit smoking at a time which is convenient for them.”
The anniversary comes as the national ‘Stoptober’ campaign reaches its half-way stage. Smokers are four times more likely to quit if they see a Stop Smoking advisor or take part in a Stop Smoking programme.
Last year 3,000 people used Medway Council’s seven week Stop Smoking programme and 50 per cent quit for good, in line with the national average.
If you are a smoker and would like to give up, you can get free specialist support from the Medway Stop Smoking Service.
To book a one-to-one session with the team, call 01634 334800, email firstname.lastname@example.org or text ‘QUIT’ to 81025.