NHS England has launched a new plan to help drinkers and smokers who are admitted to hospital to quit.

More than half a million patients who smoke, including pregnant women and their partners, will be helped to stop.

As part of new NHS Long Term plan published yesterday, people who are alcohol dependent will receive help and support from new Alcohol Care Teams in hospitals with the highest number of alcohol-related admissions.  

The plan is part the Government’s commitment to accelerate the reduction in stillbirth and neonatal baby deaths by 50 percent by 2025.

Expert teams will work in up to 50 hospitals across the country to deliver alcohol checks and provide access to help within 24 hours if it’s needed, including counselling and medically assisted help to give up alcohol. 

Women in England are amongst the most likely to smoke during pregnancy with 10% still lighting up at the time of their baby’s delivery, which doubles the risk of stillbirth, substantially increases the likelihood of miscarriage and triples the chances of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).

Clea Harmer, our chief executive and co-chair of the Smoking in Pregnancy Challenge Group, said: “Smoking in pregnancy has flatlined in recent years and more than one in ten women in England are still smoking when their child is born with a real cost in babies’ lives.

“Pregnant smokers and their partners need more help to quit and the NHS Long Term Plan commitment to fund intensive support is therefore very welcome and will provide much needed additional funding for existing services. This is investment the Smoking in Pregnancy Challenge Group have long been calling for and we look forward to seeing the detailed proposals.”

The plan includes dedicated new services for pregnant smokers and their partners, inpatients, and patients receiving long term support for specialist mental health and learning disability services.

Simon Stevens, NHS England chief executive, said: "Drinking to excess can destroy families, with the NHS too often left to pick up the pieces. Alcohol and tobacco addiction remain two of the biggest causes of ill health and early death, but the right support can save lives.”

The plan will be delivered in the 25% worst affected parts of the country and could prevent 50,000 hospital admissions. Over 600,000 people will receive the support they need to quit.  

For further advice on keeping healthy during pregnancy, visit our Safer Pregnancy website.

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