Health chiefs in Norfolk plan to save money by encouraging smokers to quit before undergoing routine operations. Doctors say they are following a programme tried in Newcastle-under-Lyme, Staffs, and health authority hope that the move will improve general health and cut hospital costs. They say research shows that smokers take more time to recover from surgery – and therefore have longer and more expensive stays in hospital – and are more likely to suffer complications.
The Norfolk Primary Care Trust, which is ?50m in the red, says smokers earmarked for routine surgery will first be referred to a smoking cessation clinic and given a target time in which to break the habit.
They say anyone needing urgent surgery will not be affected.