Our Cancer Alliance is firmly behind the NHS Smokefree Pledge
Cancer is the biggest cause of death from every illness in every age group in West Yorkshire and Harrogate, expected to affect one in two of the population born since 1960. There are currently more than 330,000 smokers in the area, and lung cancer is the most common cancer affecting local people.
Our ambition is to see over 100,000 fewer smokers by 2021 and to see the next generation of children grow up protected from the health harms of tobacco, in a place where smoking is unusual.
NHS organisations signing the NHS Smokefree Pledge are making a commitment to help smokers in their care to quit and create smokefree environments that support them to do so.
The Pledge has been developed by the Smokefree Action Coalition and endorsed by Steve Brine MP, the Public Health Minister; Simon Stevens, Chief Executive of NHS England; Duncan Selbie, Chief Executive of Public Health England, and health leaders from the Royal Colleges of Physicians, of Paediatrics and Child Health and of GPs, the BMA, the Association of Directors of Public Health and the Faculty of Public Health.
Professor Sean Duffy, who leads the West Yorkshire and Harrogate Cancer Alliance, was invited to speak at a Parliamentary launch of the NHS Smokefree pledge as a result of the specific approach being taken in the area. Professor Duffy is pictured above (right) at the launch, with Scott Crosby of Public Health England, also Tobacco Control lead for the Alliance.
Joining forces to help smokers to quit
The West Yorkshire and Harrogate health and care partnership, of which the Alliance forms part, has recognised the importance of working together across public health, which is managed by local councils, and NHS providers, who have the opportunity to support the thousands of people who come into contact with services every day.
Mid Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust, which manages both Pinderfields (Wakefield), Dewsbury and District and Pontefract Hospitals, was flagged at the launch as a particular example of good practice around smoking cessation and creating a smokefree environment. It works closely with Yorkshire Smokefree, a highly regarded service provided across the region by South West Yorkshire Partnership NHS Foundation Trust.
Said Professor Duffy: “Lung cancer is our commonest cancer and biggest killer, so supporting people to stop smoking is therefore a key commitment for us in both reducing cancer incidence and preventing recurrence. That’s why our Cancer Alliance is applying a unified, system-wide approach to all its activity, recognising the importance of both NHS organisations and our public health teams in local councils in tackling this problem.
Scott Crosby said: ‘We’re the worst in England when it comes to smoking. However, we want to be the best and to make sure the next generation of children born and brought up in our region never start smoking and grow up free of the terrible health harms associated with tobacco. It’s great to have strong, consistent support from our NHS locally and to be able to work with them to help make that happen.
Rob Webster, lead Chief Executive for the Partnership, said: “Reducing smoking, particularly for vulnerable people and those with mental health problems, will reduce health inequalities and save lives. But we can only deliver our pledges by working together and this pledge is a recognition of the power of our Partnership.”