On Thursday 11th January, Sharon joined the likes of Action Against Smoking and Health, Fresh NE and a host of NHS professionals to launch the NHS Smokefree Pledge.
NHS organisations who sign the Pledge are making a commitment to help smokers in their care to quit and create smokefree environments that support them to do so.
The commitment includes measures to:
- Treat tobacco dependency among patients and staff who smoke as set out in the Tobacco Control Plan for England;
- Ensure that smokers within the NHS have access to the medication they need to quit in line with NICE guidelines on smoking in secondary care;
- Create environments that support quitting through implementing smokefree policies as recommended by NICE.
At the event, Sharon spoke alongside Bob Blackman MP (Chair of the APPG on Smoking and Health), Celia Ingham-Clark (Medical Director for Clinical Effectiveness and National Director for Reducing Premature Death at NHS England), Duncan Selbie (Chief Executive, Public Health England), Professor Sean Duffy (Clinical Director and Alliance Lead, West Yorkshire and Harrogate Cancer Alliance), Dr Tony Branson (Co-Chair North East Smokefree NHS/Treating Tobacco Dependency Taskforce) and Steve Brine MP, Minister for Public Health and Primary Care.
In her speech at the launch event, Sharon said:
“Last year, it was welcome when the Minister finally published the delayed Tobacco Control Plan – after a little chivvying from myself at our first outing together at Health Questions. There is a lot in the Plan that we welcomed but recognised the need for the funding to be stumped up so that the vision set out in the Plan could be achieved.”
Sharon then went on to say:
“ … we have seen serious strides in the rates of smoking across the country there is still so much more we could be doing. This includes doing more work to make sure that smoking cessation becomes a central theme of healthcare staff’s engagement with patients and making every contact count to help people to quit smoking but also creating important smokefree environments where smokers can quit smoking and live healthier and happier lives.”