Tag Archives: quit

‘Haemorrhaging nurses’: one in 10 quit NHS England each year

Data showing 33,000 nurses left in 2016-17 triggers warning of ‘dangerous and downward spiral’

Two NHS nurses


More nurses have left the NHS in England in the past three years than have joined. Photograph: Medic Image/Getty Images/Universal Images Group

One in 10 nurses are leaving the NHS in England each year, according to official figures, raising fresh concerns about staffing shortages in hospitals.

Data published by NHS Digital on Wednesday shows that just under 33,500 nurses left the service in 2016-17 – 3,000 more than joined and 20% higher than the number who quit in 2012-13.

The worrying figures come amid an ongoing winter crisis fuelled by rising demand, coupled with staff and bed shortages.

The data shows more nurses have left the NHS in England than have joined for the past three years, with the deficit highest last year. In each of those three years, the number quitting has been 10% of the total.

Q&A

Why is the NHS winter crisis so bad in 2017-18?

A combination of factors are at play. Hospitals have fewer beds than last year, so they are less able to deal with the recent, ongoing surge in illness. Last week, for example, the bed occupancy rate at 17 of England’s 153 acute hospital trusts was 98% or more, with the fullest – Walsall healthcare trust – 99.9% occupied.

NHS England admits that the service “has been under sustained pressure [recently because of] high levels of respiratory illness, bed occupancy levels giving limited capacity to deal with demand surges, early indications of increasing flu prevalence and some reports suggesting a rise in the severity of illness among patients arriving at A&Es”.

Many NHS bosses and senior doctors say that the pressure the NHS is under now is the heaviest it has ever been. “We are seeing conditions that people have not experienced in their working lives,” says Dr Taj Hassan, the president of the Royal College of Emergency Medicine.

The unprecedented nature of the measures that NHS bosses have told hospitals to take – including cancelling tens of thousands of operations and outpatient appointments until at least the end of January – underlines the seriousness of the situation facing NHS services, including ambulance crews and GP surgeries.

Read a full Q&A on the NHS winter crisis

Janet Davies, head of the Royal College of Nursing, told the BBC, which initially requested the figures, that they were of great concern. “The government must lift the NHS out of this dangerous and downward spiral,” she said.

“We are haemorrhaging nurses at precisely the time when demand has never been higher. The next generation of British nurses aren’t coming through just as the most experienced nurses are becoming demoralised and leaving.”

Although 6,976 (21%) of the nurses who left in the year to September 2017 were 55 or over (the age at which nurses can start retiring on a full pension), just over half (17,207) were under 40.

The figures suggest Brexit may be having an impact, with more nurses from the EU leaving than joining in recent years. Last year, 3,985 EU (excluding the UK) nurses left, compared with 2,791 who joined. By contrast, in the last full year before the 2016 referendum (2014-15), 2,416 nurses quit the NHS, while 5,977 joined.

Hospital bosses have called for the 62,000 EU workers in the NHS, who represent 5.6% of the total workforce, to be given reassurance about their status post-Brexit.

But it is not just EU nurses who are leaving. Davies said low pay and the pressures of the job must be addressed if retention were to be improved.

Last week, senior doctors wrote to Theresa May, the prime minister, warning that patients were dying in hospital corridors during the winter crisis because the NHS was so underfunded and short-staffed that it could not cope.

The percentage of patients being treated within four hours at hospital-based A&E units in England fell to its lowest-ever level (77.3%) last month.

A Department of Health and Social Care spokesperson said there had been a rise of 11,700 nurses on wards since May 2010, and an additional 5,000 training places would be available from this year.

‘Haemorrhaging nurses’: one in 10 quit NHS England each year

Data showing 33,000 nurses left in 2016-17 triggers warning of ‘dangerous and downward spiral’

Two NHS nurses


More nurses have left the NHS in England in the past three years than have joined. Photograph: Medic Image/Getty Images/Universal Images Group

One in 10 nurses are leaving the NHS in England each year, according to official figures, raising fresh concerns about staffing shortages in hospitals.

Data published by NHS Digital on Wednesday shows that just under 33,500 nurses left the service in 2016-17 – 3,000 more than joined and 20% higher than the number who quit in 2012-13.

The worrying figures come amid an ongoing winter crisis fuelled by rising demand, coupled with staff and bed shortages.

The data shows more nurses have left the NHS in England than have joined for the past three years, with the deficit highest last year. In each of those three years, the number quitting has been 10% of the total.

Q&A

Why is the NHS winter crisis so bad in 2017-18?

A combination of factors are at play. Hospitals have fewer beds than last year, so they are less able to deal with the recent, ongoing surge in illness. Last week, for example, the bed occupancy rate at 17 of England’s 153 acute hospital trusts was 98% or more, with the fullest – Walsall healthcare trust – 99.9% occupied.

NHS England admits that the service “has been under sustained pressure [recently because of] high levels of respiratory illness, bed occupancy levels giving limited capacity to deal with demand surges, early indications of increasing flu prevalence and some reports suggesting a rise in the severity of illness among patients arriving at A&Es”.

Many NHS bosses and senior doctors say that the pressure the NHS is under now is the heaviest it has ever been. “We are seeing conditions that people have not experienced in their working lives,” says Dr Taj Hassan, the president of the Royal College of Emergency Medicine.

The unprecedented nature of the measures that NHS bosses have told hospitals to take – including cancelling tens of thousands of operations and outpatient appointments until at least the end of January – underlines the seriousness of the situation facing NHS services, including ambulance crews and GP surgeries.

Read a full Q&A on the NHS winter crisis

Janet Davies, head of the Royal College of Nursing, told the BBC, which initially requested the figures, that they were of great concern. “The government must lift the NHS out of this dangerous and downward spiral,” she said.

“We are haemorrhaging nurses at precisely the time when demand has never been higher. The next generation of British nurses aren’t coming through just as the most experienced nurses are becoming demoralised and leaving.”

Although 6,976 (21%) of the nurses who left in the year to September 2017 were 55 or over (the age at which nurses can start retiring on a full pension), just over half (17,207) were under 40.

The figures suggest Brexit may be having an impact, with more nurses from the EU leaving than joining in recent years. Last year, 3,985 EU (excluding the UK) nurses left, compared with 2,791 who joined. By contrast, in the last full year before the 2016 referendum (2014-15), 2,416 nurses quit the NHS, while 5,977 joined.

Hospital bosses have called for the 62,000 EU workers in the NHS, who represent 5.6% of the total workforce, to be given reassurance about their status post-Brexit.

But it is not just EU nurses who are leaving. Davies said low pay and the pressures of the job must be addressed if retention were to be improved.

Last week, senior doctors wrote to Theresa May, the prime minister, warning that patients were dying in hospital corridors during the winter crisis because the NHS was so underfunded and short-staffed that it could not cope.

The percentage of patients being treated within four hours at hospital-based A&E units in England fell to its lowest-ever level (77.3%) last month.

A Department of Health and Social Care spokesperson said there had been a rise of 11,700 nurses on wards since May 2010, and an additional 5,000 training places would be available from this year.

‘Haemorrhaging nurses’: one in 10 quit NHS England each year

Data showing 33,000 nurses left in 2016-17 triggers warning of ‘dangerous and downward spiral’

Two NHS nurses


More nurses have left the NHS in England in the past three years than have joined. Photograph: Medic Image/Getty Images/Universal Images Group

One in 10 nurses are leaving the NHS in England each year, according to official figures, raising fresh concerns about staffing shortages in hospitals.

Data published by NHS Digital on Wednesday shows that just under 33,500 nurses left the service in 2016-17 – 3,000 more than joined and 20% higher than the number who quit in 2012-13.

The worrying figures come amid an ongoing winter crisis fuelled by rising demand, coupled with staff and bed shortages.

The data shows more nurses have left the NHS in England than have joined for the past three years, with the deficit highest last year. In each of those three years, the number quitting has been 10% of the total.

Q&A

Why is the NHS winter crisis so bad in 2017-18?

A combination of factors are at play. Hospitals have fewer beds than last year, so they are less able to deal with the recent, ongoing surge in illness. Last week, for example, the bed occupancy rate at 17 of England’s 153 acute hospital trusts was 98% or more, with the fullest – Walsall healthcare trust – 99.9% occupied.

NHS England admits that the service “has been under sustained pressure [recently because of] high levels of respiratory illness, bed occupancy levels giving limited capacity to deal with demand surges, early indications of increasing flu prevalence and some reports suggesting a rise in the severity of illness among patients arriving at A&Es”.

Many NHS bosses and senior doctors say that the pressure the NHS is under now is the heaviest it has ever been. “We are seeing conditions that people have not experienced in their working lives,” says Dr Taj Hassan, the president of the Royal College of Emergency Medicine.

The unprecedented nature of the measures that NHS bosses have told hospitals to take – including cancelling tens of thousands of operations and outpatient appointments until at least the end of January – underlines the seriousness of the situation facing NHS services, including ambulance crews and GP surgeries.

Read a full Q&A on the NHS winter crisis

Janet Davies, head of the Royal College of Nursing, told the BBC, which initially requested the figures, that they were of great concern. “The government must lift the NHS out of this dangerous and downward spiral,” she said.

“We are haemorrhaging nurses at precisely the time when demand has never been higher. The next generation of British nurses aren’t coming through just as the most experienced nurses are becoming demoralised and leaving.”

Although 6,976 (21%) of the nurses who left in the year to September 2017 were 55 or over (the age at which nurses can start retiring on a full pension), just over half (17,207) were under 40.

The figures suggest Brexit may be having an impact, with more nurses from the EU leaving than joining in recent years. Last year, 3,985 EU (excluding the UK) nurses left, compared with 2,791 who joined. By contrast, in the last full year before the 2016 referendum (2014-15), 2,416 nurses quit the NHS, while 5,977 joined.

Hospital bosses have called for the 62,000 EU workers in the NHS, who represent 5.6% of the total workforce, to be given reassurance about their status post-Brexit.

But it is not just EU nurses who are leaving. Davies said low pay and the pressures of the job must be addressed if retention were to be improved.

Last week, senior doctors wrote to Theresa May, the prime minister, warning that patients were dying in hospital corridors during the winter crisis because the NHS was so underfunded and short-staffed that it could not cope.

The percentage of patients being treated within four hours at hospital-based A&E units in England fell to its lowest-ever level (77.3%) last month.

A Department of Health and Social Care spokesperson said there had been a rise of 11,700 nurses on wards since May 2010, and an additional 5,000 training places would be available from this year.

‘Haemorrhaging nurses’: one in 10 quit NHS England each year

Data showing 33,000 nurses left in 2016-17 triggers warning of ‘dangerous and downward spiral’

Two NHS nurses


More nurses have left the NHS in England in the past three years than have joined. Photograph: Medic Image/Getty Images/Universal Images Group

One in 10 nurses are leaving the NHS in England each year, according to official figures, raising fresh concerns about staffing shortages in hospitals.

Data published by NHS Digital on Wednesday shows that just under 33,500 nurses left the service in 2016-17 – 3,000 more than joined and 20% higher than the number who quit in 2012-13.

The worrying figures come amid an ongoing winter crisis fuelled by rising demand, coupled with staff and bed shortages.

The data shows more nurses have left the NHS in England than have joined for the past three years, with the deficit highest last year. In each of those three years, the number quitting has been 10% of the total.

Q&A

Why is the NHS winter crisis so bad in 2017-18?

A combination of factors are at play. Hospitals have fewer beds than last year, so they are less able to deal with the recent, ongoing surge in illness. Last week, for example, the bed occupancy rate at 17 of England’s 153 acute hospital trusts was 98% or more, with the fullest – Walsall healthcare trust – 99.9% occupied.

NHS England admits that the service “has been under sustained pressure [recently because of] high levels of respiratory illness, bed occupancy levels giving limited capacity to deal with demand surges, early indications of increasing flu prevalence and some reports suggesting a rise in the severity of illness among patients arriving at A&Es”.

Many NHS bosses and senior doctors say that the pressure the NHS is under now is the heaviest it has ever been. “We are seeing conditions that people have not experienced in their working lives,” says Dr Taj Hassan, the president of the Royal College of Emergency Medicine.

The unprecedented nature of the measures that NHS bosses have told hospitals to take – including cancelling tens of thousands of operations and outpatient appointments until at least the end of January – underlines the seriousness of the situation facing NHS services, including ambulance crews and GP surgeries.

Read a full Q&A on the NHS winter crisis

Janet Davies, head of the Royal College of Nursing, told the BBC, which initially requested the figures, that they were of great concern. “The government must lift the NHS out of this dangerous and downward spiral,” she said.

“We are haemorrhaging nurses at precisely the time when demand has never been higher. The next generation of British nurses aren’t coming through just as the most experienced nurses are becoming demoralised and leaving.”

Although 6,976 (21%) of the nurses who left in the year to September 2017 were 55 or over (the age at which nurses can start retiring on a full pension), just over half (17,207) were under 40.

The figures suggest Brexit may be having an impact, with more nurses from the EU leaving than joining in recent years. Last year, 3,985 EU (excluding the UK) nurses left, compared with 2,791 who joined. By contrast, in the last full year before the 2016 referendum (2014-15), 2,416 nurses quit the NHS, while 5,977 joined.

Hospital bosses have called for the 62,000 EU workers in the NHS, who represent 5.6% of the total workforce, to be given reassurance about their status post-Brexit.

But it is not just EU nurses who are leaving. Davies said low pay and the pressures of the job must be addressed if retention were to be improved.

Last week, senior doctors wrote to Theresa May, the prime minister, warning that patients were dying in hospital corridors during the winter crisis because the NHS was so underfunded and short-staffed that it could not cope.

The percentage of patients being treated within four hours at hospital-based A&E units in England fell to its lowest-ever level (77.3%) last month.

A Department of Health and Social Care spokesperson said there had been a rise of 11,700 nurses on wards since May 2010, and an additional 5,000 training places would be available from this year.

‘Haemorrhaging nurses’: one in 10 quit NHS England each year

Data showing 33,000 nurses left in 2016-17 triggers warning of ‘dangerous and downward spiral’

Two NHS nurses


More nurses have left the NHS in England in the past three years than have joined. Photograph: Medic Image/Getty Images/Universal Images Group

One in 10 nurses are leaving the NHS in England each year, according to official figures, raising fresh concerns about staffing shortages in hospitals.

Data published by NHS Digital on Wednesday shows that just under 33,500 nurses left the service in 2016-17 – 3,000 more than joined and 20% higher than the number who quit in 2012-13.

The worrying figures come amid an ongoing winter crisis fuelled by rising demand, coupled with staff and bed shortages.

The data shows more nurses have left the NHS in England than have joined for the past three years, with the deficit highest last year. In each of those three years, the number quitting has been 10% of the total.

Q&A

Why is the NHS winter crisis so bad in 2017-18?

A combination of factors are at play. Hospitals have fewer beds than last year, so they are less able to deal with the recent, ongoing surge in illness. Last week, for example, the bed occupancy rate at 17 of England’s 153 acute hospital trusts was 98% or more, with the fullest – Walsall healthcare trust – 99.9% occupied.

NHS England admits that the service “has been under sustained pressure [recently because of] high levels of respiratory illness, bed occupancy levels giving limited capacity to deal with demand surges, early indications of increasing flu prevalence and some reports suggesting a rise in the severity of illness among patients arriving at A&Es”.

Many NHS bosses and senior doctors say that the pressure the NHS is under now is the heaviest it has ever been. “We are seeing conditions that people have not experienced in their working lives,” says Dr Taj Hassan, the president of the Royal College of Emergency Medicine.

The unprecedented nature of the measures that NHS bosses have told hospitals to take – including cancelling tens of thousands of operations and outpatient appointments until at least the end of January – underlines the seriousness of the situation facing NHS services, including ambulance crews and GP surgeries.

Read a full Q&A on the NHS winter crisis

Janet Davies, head of the Royal College of Nursing, told the BBC, which initially requested the figures, that they were of great concern. “The government must lift the NHS out of this dangerous and downward spiral,” she said.

“We are haemorrhaging nurses at precisely the time when demand has never been higher. The next generation of British nurses aren’t coming through just as the most experienced nurses are becoming demoralised and leaving.”

Although 6,976 (21%) of the nurses who left in the year to September 2017 were 55 or over (the age at which nurses can start retiring on a full pension), just over half (17,207) were under 40.

The figures suggest Brexit may be having an impact, with more nurses from the EU leaving than joining in recent years. Last year, 3,985 EU (excluding the UK) nurses left, compared with 2,791 who joined. By contrast, in the last full year before the 2016 referendum (2014-15), 2,416 nurses quit the NHS, while 5,977 joined.

Hospital bosses have called for the 62,000 EU workers in the NHS, who represent 5.6% of the total workforce, to be given reassurance about their status post-Brexit.

But it is not just EU nurses who are leaving. Davies said low pay and the pressures of the job must be addressed if retention were to be improved.

Last week, senior doctors wrote to Theresa May, the prime minister, warning that patients were dying in hospital corridors during the winter crisis because the NHS was so underfunded and short-staffed that it could not cope.

The percentage of patients being treated within four hours at hospital-based A&E units in England fell to its lowest-ever level (77.3%) last month.

A Department of Health and Social Care spokesperson said there had been a rise of 11,700 nurses on wards since May 2010, and an additional 5,000 training places would be available from this year.

Fears of Brexit drain as more EU27 ambulance staff quit the NHS

Increasing numbers of European Union-trained ambulance staff are quitting the NHS, raising fears of a Brexit drain from the 999 service just as concern over slow response times grows.

There are fears the departures could exacerbate high vacancy rates in ambulance services in England, which are already one of the most understaffed areas of NHS care.

Freedom of information requests submitted by the Liberal Democrats have revealed what the Lib Dems say is an “alarming” trend of resignations among ambulance staff trained in the other 27 EU countries.

The responses from England’s 10 ambulance service trusts show that 101 paramedics, call handlers and other staff from the rest of the EU left in 2016-17 – one in seven of the 688 EU27 personnel who were working for the trusts during that time.

Last year was the second in a row in which the number of leavers rose: 81 did so in 2015-16 and 78 quit in 2014-15.

“It is deeply concerning to see a rise in ambulance staff from the EU leaving the country. This is especially alarming when we are facing such a severe shortage of paramedics,” said Baroness Judith Jolly, who speaks for the Lib Dems on health.

“These EU citizens save lives in our communities every day, yet ministers have treated them like dirt and failed to give them certainty over their futures here,” Jolly added.

At the South Central Ambulance Service, 27 of its 143 EU27 staff quit – the most among the seven trusts that provided full figures. At South East Coast Ambulance Service, 20 EU nationals left – one in three of its cohort of 57 – while 18 of 152 did so at the London Ambulance Service, slightly fewer than the 21 who left the year before. The biggest increases in quitters were at the South Central (27, up from 17) and North West services (15, up from eight).

Danny Mortimer, co-convener of the Cavendish Coalition, a grouping of health and social care organisations that fear Brexit’s possible impact on the NHS and social care, said: “Any indication that the NHS is becoming less attractive as a place to work for paramedics and ambulance staff, from abroad or from the UK, is worrying.”

Mortimer added: “The certainty now being offered EU nationals is a massive step forward. The health and social care sector looks forward to government proposals for new migration systems which we hope will place greater weight on the contribution international recruits make to the health and wealth of our local communities.”

Fears of Brexit drain as more EU27 ambulance staff quit the NHS

Increasing numbers of European Union-trained ambulance staff are quitting the NHS, raising fears of a Brexit drain from the 999 service just as concern over slow response times grows.

There are fears the departures could exacerbate high vacancy rates in ambulance services in England, which are already one of the most understaffed areas of NHS care.

Freedom of information requests submitted by the Liberal Democrats have revealed what the Lib Dems say is an “alarming” trend of resignations among ambulance staff trained in the other 27 EU countries.

The responses from England’s 10 ambulance service trusts show that 101 paramedics, call handlers and other staff from the rest of the EU left in 2016-17 – one in seven of the 688 EU27 personnel who were working for the trusts during that time.

Last year was the second in a row in which the number of leavers rose: 81 did so in 2015-16 and 78 quit in 2014-15.

“It is deeply concerning to see a rise in ambulance staff from the EU leaving the country. This is especially alarming when we are facing such a severe shortage of paramedics,” said Baroness Judith Jolly, who speaks for the Lib Dems on health.

“These EU citizens save lives in our communities every day, yet ministers have treated them like dirt and failed to give them certainty over their futures here,” Jolly added.

At the South Central Ambulance Service, 27 of its 143 EU27 staff quit – the most among the seven trusts that provided full figures. At South East Coast Ambulance Service, 20 EU nationals left – one in three of its cohort of 57 – while 18 of 152 did so at the London Ambulance Service, slightly fewer than the 21 who left the year before. The biggest increases in quitters were at the South Central (27, up from 17) and North West services (15, up from eight).

Danny Mortimer, co-convener of the Cavendish Coalition, a grouping of health and social care organisations that fear Brexit’s possible impact on the NHS and social care, said: “Any indication that the NHS is becoming less attractive as a place to work for paramedics and ambulance staff, from abroad or from the UK, is worrying.”

Mortimer added: “The certainty now being offered EU nationals is a massive step forward. The health and social care sector looks forward to government proposals for new migration systems which we hope will place greater weight on the contribution international recruits make to the health and wealth of our local communities.”

Fears of Brexit drain as more EU27 ambulance staff quit the NHS

Increasing numbers of European Union-trained ambulance staff are quitting the NHS, raising fears of a Brexit drain from the 999 service just as concern over slow response times grows.

There are fears the departures could exacerbate high vacancy rates in ambulance services in England, which are already one of the most understaffed areas of NHS care.

Freedom of information requests submitted by the Liberal Democrats have revealed what the Lib Dems say is an “alarming” trend of resignations among ambulance staff trained in the other 27 EU countries.

The responses from England’s 10 ambulance service trusts show that 101 paramedics, call handlers and other staff from the rest of the EU left in 2016-17 – one in seven of the 688 EU27 personnel who were working for the trusts during that time.

Last year was the second in a row in which the number of leavers rose: 81 did so in 2015-16 and 78 quit in 2014-15.

“It is deeply concerning to see a rise in ambulance staff from the EU leaving the country. This is especially alarming when we are facing such a severe shortage of paramedics,” said Baroness Judith Jolly, who speaks for the Lib Dems on health.

“These EU citizens save lives in our communities every day, yet ministers have treated them like dirt and failed to give them certainty over their futures here,” Jolly added.

At the South Central Ambulance Service, 27 of its 143 EU27 staff quit – the most among the seven trusts that provided full figures. At South East Coast Ambulance Service, 20 EU nationals left – one in three of its cohort of 57 – while 18 of 152 did so at the London Ambulance Service, slightly fewer than the 21 who left the year before. The biggest increases in quitters were at the South Central (27, up from 17) and North West services (15, up from eight).

Danny Mortimer, co-convener of the Cavendish Coalition, a grouping of health and social care organisations that fear Brexit’s possible impact on the NHS and social care, said: “Any indication that the NHS is becoming less attractive as a place to work for paramedics and ambulance staff, from abroad or from the UK, is worrying.”

Mortimer added: “The certainty now being offered EU nationals is a massive step forward. The health and social care sector looks forward to government proposals for new migration systems which we hope will place greater weight on the contribution international recruits make to the health and wealth of our local communities.”

Hard-hitting new advert urges smokers to quit

Smokers are being urged to quit in the new year by a government advertising campaign highlighting how toxic chemicals from cigarettes spread rapidly through the body.

The 20 second advert features a lone man lighting up outside a building, with the blood vessels in his arms, face and hands quickly turning black as chemicals from the cigarette tar enter his body.

“Every cigarette you smoke causes poison from tar to enter your bloodstream and spread to every part of your body. If you could see the damage, you’d stop,” the voiceover states.

The advert, by Public Health England, has been released alongside other media including a short film in which a GP, Dr Dawn Harper, talks to a group of smokers about the levels of carbon monoxide, cadmium and cancer-causing substances called nitrosamines in their blood, and the damage these chemicals can cause to the body. The film stresses that when smokers quit, the levels of these chemicals drop off.

Martin Dockrell, head of tobacco control at Public Health England said that January was a popular time to kick the habit. “Our campaign is to add to that motivation and give extra support to people who want to quit in the new year,” he said.

The campaign, he added, is aimed at emphasising the dangers posed by tar. “Tar is this generic name we give for all the solid matter that you inhale [from a cigarette],” he said.

Dockrell said that smokers who want to quit would benefit most from attending a local stop smoking service, where both medicines and behavioural support are available. However, he added that there are also numerous resources at the NHS smokefree website, including an app which helps smokers see how much money they save as they quit.

And with e-cigarettes as well as nicotine replacement therapies such as patches, gum, microtabs and nasal sprays now available, Dockrell is sanguine.

“There’s never been a better time to quit: more people are quitting and they are quitting more successfully than ever,” he said. With new, standardising packaging and an array of novel devices, “Smoking has never been more unpleasant and the alternatives have never been more appealing,” he added.

Hard-hitting new advert urges smokers to quit

Smokers are being urged to quit in the new year by a government advertising campaign highlighting how toxic chemicals from cigarettes spread rapidly through the body.

The 20 second advert features a lone man lighting up outside a building, with the blood vessels in his arms, face and hands quickly turning black as chemicals from the cigarette tar enter his body.

“Every cigarette you smoke causes poison from tar to enter your bloodstream and spread to every part of your body. If you could see the damage, you’d stop,” the voiceover states.

The advert, by Public Health England, has been released alongside other media including a short film in which a GP, Dr Dawn Harper, talks to a group of smokers about the levels of carbon monoxide, cadmium and cancer-causing substances called nitrosamines in their blood, and the damage these chemicals can cause to the body. The film stresses that when smokers quit, the levels of these chemicals drop off.

Martin Dockrell, head of tobacco control at Public Health England said that January was a popular time to kick the habit. “Our campaign is to add to that motivation and give extra support to people who want to quit in the new year,” he said.

The campaign, he added, is aimed at emphasising the dangers posed by tar. “Tar is this generic name we give for all the solid matter that you inhale [from a cigarette],” he said.

Dockrell said that smokers who want to quit would benefit most from attending a local stop smoking service, where both medicines and behavioural support are available. However, he added that there are also numerous resources at the NHS smokefree website, including an app which helps smokers see how much money they save as they quit.

And with e-cigarettes as well as nicotine replacement therapies such as patches, gum, microtabs and nasal sprays now available, Dockrell is sanguine.

“There’s never been a better time to quit: more people are quitting and they are quitting more successfully than ever,” he said. With new, standardising packaging and an array of novel devices, “Smoking has never been more unpleasant and the alternatives have never been more appealing,” he added.