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NEW SCHEME TO HELP MENTAL HEALTH PATIENTS GIVE UP SMOKING

May 12, 2006 2:48 PM

An innovative new scheme has been introduced to help mental health patients give up smoking. The scheme, which is being piloted at two short stay mental health wards on the Southern General site, is designed to offer patients support to help them kick the habit.

Under the new scheme, patients will no longer be able to smoke on the premises but instead will be offered treatment and support to help them stop smoking during their stay.

Mark Richards, Sector Mental Health Nurse, who has been planning the pilot scheme, explained: "We know that a lot of patients want to give up smoking and we are keen to help them. However rather than just imposing a smoking ban and leaving patients to cope on their own we decided we would put in place a range of services to support them during and after their stay.

He added: "We talked to patients and carers about the type of support they wanted and following feedback we now plan to offer Nicotine Replacement Therapy (NRT) and counselling support. We have also appointed a dedicated smoking cessation worker who will provide support, encouragement and advice to patients and their families."

During the pilot period any patients admitted to the two mental wards who wish to continue smoking will be able to do so out-with the Southern General site – in line with the arrangements for all other patients attending the site for treatment.

Follow up support will also be offered to help patients after they have been discharged.

The pilot scheme, which has been developed in partnership with local mental health staff, patients and carers, will run for 6 month. It will then be evaluated and the results will help inform the development of smoking policies for other short-stay mental health facilities across NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde.

Note to Editors

Under the Smoking Ban introduced by the Scottish Executive there is an exemption for designated rooms in mental health hospitals and units however it is up to individual NHS Boards to decide on the policy for their local area.

Media Contact: Elsbeth Campbell – 0141 305 0307

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