Darlington Borough Council cuts means smokers face a postcode lottery in hospital

Darlington town hall

Darlington town hall

First published in News The Northern Echo: Photograph of the Author by , Health & Education Editor

A COUNCIL’S decision to cut back on funding for hospital-based stop smoking support will mean patients will face a postcode lottery, it was revealed last night.

The decision by Darlington Borough Council means that specialist smoking cessation staff working for the County Durham and Darlington NHS Foundation Trust – which runs Darlington Memorial Hospital and the University Hospital of North Durham – are no longer allowed to help patients from Darlington to quit.

But because Durham County Council is continuing to fund hospital-based stop smoking services, patients from the rest of County Durham will continue to get help to quit smoking while they are in hospital.

The ban on providing smoking cessation support also applies to hospital staff who live in Darlington.

Jake Turnbull, North-East spokesman for the Royal College of Nursing, said: “This is completely unacceptable. The health services that are provided to these patients should be provided regardless of where they live.

“This postcode lottery is a completely unacceptable consequence of the divesting of health services to local authority budgets.

“We are fully aware that local authorities are under extreme financial pressure due to the financial settlement from the Government but to treat people differently depending on where they live is not acceptable.”

Trevor Johnston, Unison's lead officer for health in the North-East region, said: "It is ludicrous that smoking cessation, one of the key things for mid-term and long-term health is being axed. It is absolute madness and is storing up problems for the future."

He said the situation has been caused by the Government's health reforms which meant care "is not joined up in any shape or form."

A spokeswoman for Darlington Borough Council said: “Helping people to stop smoking is one of the most important public health services that we provide and Darlington residents will continue to get the support they need through community based services at GPs surgeries and pharmacies. We will no longer be commissioning hospital-based stop smoking services.”

A spokesman for the Trust said: “County Durham and Darlington NHS Foundation Trust currently provides stop smoking support to patients at University Hospital of North Durham and Darlington Memorial Hospital.

"Presently this service is commissioned by both Durham County Council and Darlington Borough Council. From April 1, 2014, Darlington Borough Council will no longer be commissioning the Trust to provide this service.

“Stop smoking support will continue to be available to Darlington residents from their GP practice and local pharmacies.

"Darlington Borough Council’s website also contains useful information about healthy lifestyles at darlington.gov.uk .

"The Trust regrets that it will no longer be able to provide high quality stop smoking services to Darlington residents."

After a review of the Health Improvement Service currently provided by County Durham and Darlington Trust, the council has also decided to stop funding food and health courses, a health trainer and workplace health.

Comments (12)

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6:10am Tue 25 Mar 14

Auldgadgey says...

Can you remember the good old days when we had a national health service and it got 98% approval from its patients.
That was before we had a Tory lead government of course.
Can you remember the good old days when we had a national health service and it got 98% approval from its patients. That was before we had a Tory lead government of course. Auldgadgey
  • Score: 1

8:42am Tue 25 Mar 14

laboursfoe says...

Does anybody have any confidence or trust in the current Darlington Council leaders.

All this investment in other project, that aren't needed (£750k on a DBC Reception revamp), then cuts to funding to help people stop smoking.

Madness if you ask me!!!
Does anybody have any confidence or trust in the current Darlington Council leaders. All this investment in other project, that aren't needed (£750k on a DBC Reception revamp), then cuts to funding to help people stop smoking. Madness if you ask me!!! laboursfoe
  • Score: 9

10:50am Tue 25 Mar 14

DarloXman says...

What's the problem?

“Stop smoking support will continue to be available to Darlington residents from their GP practice and local pharmacies.

"Darlington Borough Council’s website also contains useful information about healthy lifestyles at darlington.gov.uk ."

What do Unison want? Do they want the service also be provided at every Library and also at the Dolphin Centre? Money is no issue - of course only when you're spending someone else's (the taxpayer's) !
What's the problem? “Stop smoking support will continue to be available to Darlington residents from their GP practice and local pharmacies. "Darlington Borough Council’s website also contains useful information about healthy lifestyles at darlington.gov.uk ." What do Unison want? Do they want the service also be provided at every Library and also at the Dolphin Centre? Money is no issue - of course only when you're spending someone else's (the taxpayer's) ! DarloXman
  • Score: 0

11:26am Tue 25 Mar 14

MartinMo says...

If someone really wants to stop smoking they don't need all the gimmicky gums, patches, those vapour e ciggies or organised clinics, all that is required is will power and that costs nothing.
If someone really wants to stop smoking they don't need all the gimmicky gums, patches, those vapour e ciggies or organised clinics, all that is required is will power and that costs nothing. MartinMo
  • Score: -2

12:18pm Tue 25 Mar 14

marma495 says...

Sensible decision. Far too much Taxpayers money wasted on stop smoking services. Anybody that wants to stop can use their GP,s clinic.
Sensible decision. Far too much Taxpayers money wasted on stop smoking services. Anybody that wants to stop can use their GP,s clinic. marma495
  • Score: -5

12:24pm Tue 25 Mar 14

Yemen says...

MartinMo wrote:
If someone really wants to stop smoking they don't need all the gimmicky gums, patches, those vapour e ciggies or organised clinics, all that is required is will power and that costs nothing.
e-cigs are not a smoking cessation aid, they are a smoking replacement. many people make that mistake.

other than that you are entirely correct :)
[quote][p][bold]MartinMo[/bold] wrote: If someone really wants to stop smoking they don't need all the gimmicky gums, patches, those vapour e ciggies or organised clinics, all that is required is will power and that costs nothing.[/p][/quote]e-cigs are not a smoking cessation aid, they are a smoking replacement. many people make that mistake. other than that you are entirely correct :) Yemen
  • Score: -3

1:51pm Tue 25 Mar 14

behonest says...

"Trevor Johnston, Unison's lead officer for health in the North-East region, said: "It is ludicrous that smoking cessation, one of the key things for mid-term and long-term health is being axed." It's not though, is it?

“Stop smoking support will continue to be available to Darlington residents from their GP practice and local pharmacies." So it's not being 'axed'.

I agree with the last few comments. Durham County Council should follow suit and stop paying out huge sums of taxpayers (our) money on providing this service all over the place to a minority of people.

I suspect these 'specialist smoking cessation staff' cost the taxpayer a fortune, and for doing what (that can't be done in a GP Practice or pharmacy)?
"Trevor Johnston, Unison's lead officer for health in the North-East region, said: "It is ludicrous that smoking cessation, one of the key things for mid-term and long-term health is being axed." It's not though, is it? “Stop smoking support will continue to be available to Darlington residents from their GP practice and local pharmacies." So it's not being 'axed'. I agree with the last few comments. Durham County Council should follow suit and stop paying out huge sums of taxpayers (our) money on providing this service all over the place to a minority of people. I suspect these 'specialist smoking cessation staff' cost the taxpayer a fortune, and for doing what (that can't be done in a GP Practice or pharmacy)? behonest
  • Score: 0

3:32pm Wed 26 Mar 14

Suzysu says...

I think I must have missed something here, yes there is stop smoking support in the community but by definition if people are in hospital then they won't be able to access their GP? This is shocking how you could have 2 people in the bed next to each other following a stroke or heart attack, and whilst the person from Darlington has to suffer withdrawal symptoms their neighbour from Durham would get medication to relieve these. What's next pain medication?
I think I must have missed something here, yes there is stop smoking support in the community but by definition if people are in hospital then they won't be able to access their GP? This is shocking how you could have 2 people in the bed next to each other following a stroke or heart attack, and whilst the person from Darlington has to suffer withdrawal symptoms their neighbour from Durham would get medication to relieve these. What's next pain medication? Suzysu
  • Score: 4

6:27pm Fri 28 Mar 14

boatsboatsboats2014 says...

MartinMo wrote:
If someone really wants to stop smoking they don't need all the gimmicky gums, patches, those vapour e ciggies or organised clinics, all that is required is will power and that costs nothing.
You clearly haven't got a clue what you're talking about and your words speak of someone who is incredibly glib and misinformed. I would suggest taking the time to actually research the mechanisms involved in nicotine addiction, as well as the large body of empirical evidence demonstrating the effectiveness of Nicotine Replacement Therapy and "organised clinics". Here's a hint: the research clearly shows that you are 4 times more likely to quit if you use a smoking cessation aid and have support from a qualified advisor. Those that can quit with just "will power" are in the minority.
[quote][p][bold]MartinMo[/bold] wrote: If someone really wants to stop smoking they don't need all the gimmicky gums, patches, those vapour e ciggies or organised clinics, all that is required is will power and that costs nothing.[/p][/quote]You clearly haven't got a clue what you're talking about and your words speak of someone who is incredibly glib and misinformed. I would suggest taking the time to actually research the mechanisms involved in nicotine addiction, as well as the large body of empirical evidence demonstrating the effectiveness of Nicotine Replacement Therapy and "organised clinics". Here's a hint: the research clearly shows that you are 4 times more likely to quit if you use a smoking cessation aid and have support from a qualified advisor. Those that can quit with just "will power" are in the minority. boatsboatsboats2014
  • Score: 0

6:28pm Fri 28 Mar 14

boatsboatsboats2014 says...

Yemen wrote:
MartinMo wrote:
If someone really wants to stop smoking they don't need all the gimmicky gums, patches, those vapour e ciggies or organised clinics, all that is required is will power and that costs nothing.
e-cigs are not a smoking cessation aid, they are a smoking replacement. many people make that mistake.

other than that you are entirely correct :)
See my response to Martin. He is entirely INCORRECT.
[quote][p][bold]Yemen[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]MartinMo[/bold] wrote: If someone really wants to stop smoking they don't need all the gimmicky gums, patches, those vapour e ciggies or organised clinics, all that is required is will power and that costs nothing.[/p][/quote]e-cigs are not a smoking cessation aid, they are a smoking replacement. many people make that mistake. other than that you are entirely correct :)[/p][/quote]See my response to Martin. He is entirely INCORRECT. boatsboatsboats2014
  • Score: 0

6:29pm Fri 28 Mar 14

boatsboatsboats2014 says...

marma495 wrote:
Sensible decision. Far too much Taxpayers money wasted on stop smoking services. Anybody that wants to stop can use their GP,s clinic.
Have you actually seen the difference in quit rates between stop smoking services and the service offered in GP clinics?
[quote][p][bold]marma495[/bold] wrote: Sensible decision. Far too much Taxpayers money wasted on stop smoking services. Anybody that wants to stop can use their GP,s clinic.[/p][/quote]Have you actually seen the difference in quit rates between stop smoking services and the service offered in GP clinics? boatsboatsboats2014
  • Score: 0

6:31pm Fri 28 Mar 14

boatsboatsboats2014 says...

behonest wrote:
"Trevor Johnston, Unison's lead officer for health in the North-East region, said: "It is ludicrous that smoking cessation, one of the key things for mid-term and long-term health is being axed." It's not though, is it?

“Stop smoking support will continue to be available to Darlington residents from their GP practice and local pharmacies." So it's not being 'axed'.

I agree with the last few comments. Durham County Council should follow suit and stop paying out huge sums of taxpayers (our) money on providing this service all over the place to a minority of people.

I suspect these 'specialist smoking cessation staff' cost the taxpayer a fortune, and for doing what (that can't be done in a GP Practice or pharmacy)?
They cost the taxpayer a "fortune" for delivering a SPECIALIST service in helping people with one of the most addictive substances known to man and by contributing to the cessation of the biggest preventable cause to ill health. Do some research and have a look at the difference in success rates between specialist services and that of GP practices and pharmacies.
[quote][p][bold]behonest[/bold] wrote: "Trevor Johnston, Unison's lead officer for health in the North-East region, said: "It is ludicrous that smoking cessation, one of the key things for mid-term and long-term health is being axed." It's not though, is it? “Stop smoking support will continue to be available to Darlington residents from their GP practice and local pharmacies." So it's not being 'axed'. I agree with the last few comments. Durham County Council should follow suit and stop paying out huge sums of taxpayers (our) money on providing this service all over the place to a minority of people. I suspect these 'specialist smoking cessation staff' cost the taxpayer a fortune, and for doing what (that can't be done in a GP Practice or pharmacy)?[/p][/quote]They cost the taxpayer a "fortune" for delivering a SPECIALIST service in helping people with one of the most addictive substances known to man and by contributing to the cessation of the biggest preventable cause to ill health. Do some research and have a look at the difference in success rates between specialist services and that of GP practices and pharmacies. boatsboatsboats2014
  • Score: 0

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