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NHS: Smoking

Volume 686: debated on Tuesday 7 November 2006

asked Her Majesty's Government:

What action they propose to take to ensure that National Health Service patients referred by their general practitioner for surgery are treated equally and fairly, regardless of whether they smoke.[HL7928]

Primary care trusts commission surgery services based on their assessment of the needs of their local population and available service capacity. The provision and availability of a particular surgical intervention should be dependent on the clinical need of the individual patient.

An assessment of the benefits of stopping smoking ahead of planned surgery was published in May 2006 by the London Health Observatory. It was entitled Stop before the Op: the short-term benefits of preoperative smoking cessation in London. It estimated that, if London patients admitted for planned surgery were to stop smoking prior to operation, 2,500 to 5,300 fewer post-operative complications would be avoided each year. A copy is available in the Library.