Due to the COVID 19 Virus, it has been recommended by the Government that changes will be required to be made to services across the country.
All face to face clinics and wellbeing sessions will now transfer to either virtual live streams, online or telephone support via our Quitlines. All patients new and existing will be offered this support. We are working with Public Health England and health colleagues to do everything we can to help stop the virus spreading and make sure that residents across our national public health services, particularly those most vulnerable, are protected as much as possible.
Details of our service provision throughout this challenging time can be found via our service websites, details of our national services can be found here.
Our lifestyle services remain key in maintaining peoples health over this period. The Chief Medical Officer has highlighted that smokers are more susceptible to respiratory infections making this an important time to encourage smokers to quit. Additionally, the need to encourage good levels of nutrition and exercise is not only vital for physical health but mental health too.
Why quit smoking now?
It is still vitally important that we help smokers to quit because smoking harms the immune system and smokers are therefore less protected against infections like coronavirus. Smokers are therefore at greater risk of:
■ getting acute respiratory infections
■ infections lasting longer
■ infections being more serious than it would be for someone who does not smoke
Dr Nick Hopkinson, Reader in Respiratory Medicine at Imperial College London and Chair of ASH explains the relationship between smoking and COVID-19 and the key messages for smokers in the video here.
Research in the New England Journal of Medicine from COVID-19 patients in China, shows that these impacts are being seen among smokers with COVID-19. Among the research cohort, smokers were about 1.5 times more likely to see their disease progress to the severe stage compared to non-smokers. You can view the full research here.
Our ‘Quit With Bella’ app can also be downloaded on Android, iOS and Alexa. Bella is your personal stop smoking coach that has been trained by expert advisors who have helped thousands of people quit smoking. Bella runs on the industry evidence base so you know you are getting help you can trust.
We have a vital role to play in preventing the spread of COVID-19 to smokers, and in helping smokers become and remain smokefree so that they are less at risk of serious health consequences from the virus. We will revise this recommendation as guidance from PHE and NHSE is published.
What can people do to maintain good physical and mental health?
Our Shape Up 4 Life online programme offers unlimited access to our free recipes and snack ideas. Developed by our experts and the NHS these healthy foods contain a balanced mix of nutrients helping you to eat well and enjoy your meals
We have a range of lifestyle advice and support blogs within our My Self Care site, from Falls Prevention to Mental Health, there is a range of information and advice delivered by our teams of health professionals.