I blogged about the NICE public health guidance that was published at the end of November:
PH48 Smoking cessation – acute, maternity and mental health services: guidance. NICE, 27 Nov 2013.
This issue really divided the audience. Many people felt that the guidance was a sensible approach; a view that was summed up nicely by public health doctor Caroline Tomes:
"From a public health perspective – this new guidance is very welcome. I can foresee the following benefits:
1) reducing inequalities of smoke exposure (especially for mental health patients)
2) Trusts leading by example by encouraging a smoke-free NHS culture
3) empower NHS staff to ensure they are Making Every Contact Count
MH patients should be treated the same as patients with physical health issues. As such, any MH patient who is identified to be a smoker should be provided with brief advice and encouraged/supported to stop smoking. This may require a large culture shift for many trusts, but this is necessary and will help improve the health and well-being of patients – which surely, is what we all want!"
However, there was a large group of people who made their feelings about this ban very clear on Twitter. Comments from one reader (https://twitter.com/Sectioned_) were particularly memorable:
- Psychiatric inpatient wards should be supportive environments that nurture mental & physical health
- Enforcing a smoking ban in a coercive environment when you’re vulnerable is not supportive
- If every ward had an accessible outdoor space with a smoking area, smoking cessation could be supported
- Seeing an acute admission as an opportunity to impose further restrictions won’t help people stop smoking
- Instead, it’s just another example of professionals moralising & infantilising people with mental health problems
I'd be really interested to hear what everyone thinks of this issue and how it's reported in the news.
The Mental Elf