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RCSEd Endorses ASH and UKCTAS Budget Submission Recommendations


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23 Feb 2016

Today (23 February) President of The Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh, Mr Michael Lavelle-Jones, wrote to the Chancellor of the Exchequer to support the joint budget submission made by Action on Smoking and Health (ASH) and the UK Centre for Tobacco & Alcohol Studies (UKCTAS).

On the submission, Mr Lavelle-Jones said: "In addition to the general health risks associated with smoking, research has shown that smokers are also more likely to suffer complications during and following surgery. Therefore, it is clear that bold and decisive action be taken to tackle smoking rates. As such, we fully endorse the recommendations made by ASH and UKCTAS”

RCSEd took the decision to support these recommendations as there is strong evidence that smokers who undergo surgery:

  • have a higher risk of lung and heart complications
  • have higher risk of post-operative infection
  • have impaired wound healing
  • are more likely to be admitted to an intensive care unit
  • have an increased risk of dying in hospital
  • are at higher risk of readmission
  • remain in hospital longer.

As a result, the health problems associated with smoking have been estimated to cost the NHS around £2.7 billion every year while other estimates have put the cost as high as £5.2 billion.  This does not include the cost of work days lost, sickness benefits and other indirect costs.

It has been estimated that, in London alone, savings of around £2,650,000 a year could be made if between 8% and 17% of smokers quit before having surgery.  The Welsh government has estimated that supporting smokers to quit before having surgery smokers could save as much as £2.3 million more every year.  These savings are derived from “bed days” saved and the reduced cost of treating post-operative complications.

For further information or to view the recommendations click here.


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