North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust’s tobacco dependency team have been assessed as having helped save 166 lives in just one year.
The team provides bespoke support for any in-patient who wants to quit smoking.
The North East and North Cumbria Integrated Care System has reviewed the first year of the team’s work and established:
- 166 lives have been saved
- £507,944 saved (by reducing hospital readmissions)
- Created the equivalent of four spaces (by reducing hospital readmissions)
Julie Bardsley, tobacco dependency specialist lead is celebrating her one-year anniversary of helping smokers as she began her role on 14 March 2022.
She said: “This is brilliant news. Knowing we have helped save 166 lives is just incredible. I’m so proud of this team!
“I’m also thrilled to get this news on my anniversary in the job.
“We’re out and about on the wards, meeting patients and supporting them to quit.
“We provide nicotine replacement therapy to help manage cravings while they are in hospital and make sure that they have a supply to take home when they’re discharged.
“We work really closely with the medical teams to make sure everything we prescribe is compatible with any medication or treatment they are receiving.”
Key to the team’s success is a commitment to never judging those they help. Julie commented: “The absolute best way to help a smoker is to treat their addiction as a disease. That’s why having a clinical team in the hospital has proved so successful.
“We don’t criticise, we don’t look down on anyone, we just support.”
One ex-smoker the team helped quit the habit was Ell Stark, from Hartlepool, who said:
“Whilst in North Tees Hospital, the tobacco dependency people came to see me.
“They didn’t preach, they didn’t judge!
“They understood how I felt and took the time to sit and speak to me. And they went through options that were available regarding nicotine replacement therapy and I chose patches and lozenges as I felt inhalers or vapes wouldn’t work for me as they wouldn’t have broken my hand-to-mouth habit.
“So what’s my situation now? I’m proud to say I’m a non-smoker! My tobacco dependency advisor Tina keeps in touch with me regularly and I feel great telling her how well I’m doing. I can tell that Tina is proud of me and that makes me feel even better about myself.
“As a smoker I hated when people said to me “if I can do it then anyone can” but it is true. Seriously, it is and those lovely people from the Tobacco dependency will help you all the way!”