Smoke free

We’re Smoke Free 

Mersey Care remains committed to becoming a smoke free trust to bring us in line with National Institute of Clinical Excellence (NICE) guidelines.

The biggest stage of that process took place in August (20160 when Local Services followed the other divisions and introduced new rules so that service users, carers, visitors and staff would no longer be able to smoke, including e-cigarettes, on Trust sites. Our new Specialist Learning Disability Division was given a little longer to implement their smoke free plan and intended to do so from January (2017).

The transition to smoke free has caused issues in implementation and, after listening to staff concerns, the Trust’s Executive Board have temporarily suspended our smoke free policy for the Local Division. Current arrangements remain in place for the Secure Division and the plans for the Specialist Learning Disability Division going smoke free are unchanged.

The decision was not taken lightly and Mersey Care continues to believe that smoke free services remains in the best interests of service users, carers and staff. We have a duty to protect the health and wellbeing of all in our care and employment and banning smoking on our premises is one of the best methods to achieve that.

This suspension is strictly on a temporary basis for the Local Division and will allow the Trust to review our current plans. During this period we will consider what additional interventions may be available to help with successful implementation and become a completely smoke free organisation.

Smoke Free update

You may remember that we suspended our plans to become a completely smoke free trust after a number of problems in the implementation of that policy.

Our decision to go smoke free aims to bring us in line with National Institute of Clinical Excellence (NICE) guidelines. As a trust we have a duty to protect the health and wellbeing of all in our care and employment and banning smoking on our premises is one of the best methods to achieve that.

When we suspended our plans last September (2016) there had been a rise in incidents and feedback from staff was that their time was being taken up dealing with smoking issues rather than concentrating on providing high quality care for our patients.

We pride ourselves on being an organisation that listens to its workforce and we have reacted to those concerns and are now aiming for Local Division and the Specialist Learning Division to become completely smoke free by 4 September, 2017.

Staff told us that there was not enough training last time to enable staff to advise service users and support was not there and we have reacted to that by introducing an implementation plan for Local Services. This involves community and inpatient staff being trained as advisors in conjunction with ‘Solutions 4Health,’ the leading stop smoking service for Liverpool and Sefton.

I’m delighted to be able to report that community staff have nearly all completed their training and inpatient staff will follow soon. Local Services remain on course to go smoke free in September while the Specialist Learning Division is also ready to hit our deadline.

In addition to training, leaflets and posters explaining our reasons for going smoke free and tips and hints for giving up smoking have been delivered to all sites for service users and carers and staff.

We have been guided in our implementation plan by a Public Health England document called ‘Smokefree mental health services in England.’ There is some useful information on the effect on service users of giving up smoking on Page 48, which you can access here.

Find out what this means and how we will help you.

Breathe easy we're smoke free