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Smokefree approach earns global recognition

Monday, 01 June 2020

A GLOBAL platform has recognised Barwon Health for its stand-out approach as a smoke-free health service.

The Global Network for Tobacco Free Healthcare Services (GNTFHS) has awarded Barwon Health with GOLD Forum Membership, highlighting its commitment to achieving the highest level of tobacco-free standards.

Barwon Health is one of 10 international health services recognised this year, making it just the third Australian service to ever receive the honour.

Sunday May 31 is World No Tobacco Day, which aims to encourage smokefree lifestyles and inform the public on the dangers of tobacco use. 

Smoking is the leading cause of preventable death and disease in Australia, and Geelong smoking rates are roughly two per cent higher than the state average.

Barwon Health Emergency and Medicine director Associate Professor Andrew Hughes said the international praise for the organisation’s smokefree efforts reflected a standard that been an area of focus for many years.

“This is acknowledgement that we’ve been working hard on this issue for a long time, as we’ve strived to improve our quality of care by addressing tobacco’s impact in a healthcare setting,” he said.

“Our approach has viewed every patient contact with our healthcare service as an opportunity to address tobacco as an issue that affects the health of an individual, both during treatment and in the long-term.”

A/Prof Hughes said a lot of complex work was required to create the process that ensures every person coming to Barwon Health is asked about smoking and offered help.

“If we’re going to address the issue and all of its risks, we have to find and help everyone who smokes,” he said.

“Everything we do in this space is designed to make that happen, by communicating widely, educating staff to have confidence to talk about it, engaging with other organisations to be on the same page, to have the clinical tools and systems to do it, and to report and measure what we’re doing to ensure it’s making a difference.

“You can have the best policies in place, but you need the clinical leaders to address how it works within their specific environment.

“There are endless opportunities for us to address this and offer our patients and clients appropriate help, including our community Be Smokefree clinics as a fantastic free resource.”

GNTFHS senior jury member Ann Tzung-Yee Feng said Barwon Health had demonstrated great work, highlighting a very personal approach to patients.

“Their current work on following up with service users who did not attend or who dropped out of the service is fantastic and will produce some really valuable information for informing future service delivery,” she said.

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Media phone: 03 4215 1119 Note: This phone number is not for COVID-19 (coronavirus) information. Please call 1800 675 398 for general information. 

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