Nurses and psychiatrists lack training to help patients quit smoking

Mental health nurses and psychiatrists are not being trained adequately to help patients give up smoking according to a report by a leading charity.

Action on Smoking and Health revealed most doctors and nurses believed their “training and education had ill-equipped them to support their patients” and agreed with the report's proposal that the training of mental health professionals should continue throughout their careers.

It called on NHS England and Improvement to develop a plan “to ensure training meets the requirements of implementing NICE guidance on smoking in both inpatient and community mental health settings".

One in four people in England who smoke has a mental health condition according to Public Health England. The government has pledged to make the country smoke-free by 2030.

“Smoking in mental health services needs to be taken as seriously as alcohol and illicit drug addictions. Many thousands of people with mental health conditions die from smoking every year and this will continue unless there is adequate investment in staff training,” said Hazel Cheeseman, director of policy at ASH.

“If the government is serious in its desire to level up society and deliver a smokefree nation by 2030 doctors and nurses must be trained to can give smokers with mental health conditions the help they need to quit.”

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