Health chiefs join forces to deliver hard hitting message to pregnant women who smoke

Health bososes from across the region have joined forces to tackle the damaging effects of smoking in pregnancy.

Wednesday, 25th September 2019, 5:45 pm
North East health leaders sign the pledge to address smoking in pregnancy. North East and North Cumbria Integrated Care System team members; Jane Robinson (Durham County Council) Dr David Hambleton (South Tyneside CCG), Ahmad Khouja (Tees, Esk and Wear), Julie Gillon (North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust).

More than 100 leaders from across the North East and North Cumbria came together at the Emirates Riverside Ground in Chester-le-Street to pledge their commitment to ending tobacco dependency in pregnancy.

They say the need to create a new ‘conversation’ around the issue is a priority.

A ‘guiding coalition’ of local maternity systems, leading midwives and clinical experts has been created and a newly launched script which talks to expectant mothers about their habit as ‘an addiction’ is aimed at sending a hard-hitting message about the impacts on their unborn child.

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Among the local health chiefs who attended the event were David Hambleton, Chief Executive Office of South Tyneside Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), Fadi Khalil, GP and Clinical Vice Chair of Sunderland CCG and Julie Gillon, Chief Executive, North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust.

Latest NHS statistics for mums who smoke at the time they give birth are 17% for Hartlepool, 17.8% in Sunderland and 19.9% for South Tyneside.

David Hambleton, Chief Executive for South Tyneside CCG from the group said: “We wanted to tackle something we could impact, to create an aspirant direction for the future of the North East and North Cumbria.

“We wanted to create a new conversation, one that recognised smoking as an addiction. In order to ensure it would impact we called upon leaders across the system to support a new script for expectant mothers.”In January 2019 the NHS launched its Long Term Plan has a strong emphasis on giving children the best start in life and prevention.

Smoking during pregnancy causes up to 2,200 premature births, 5,000 miscarriages and 300 perinatal death deaths every year in the UK.

Around 65,000 babies are born to mothers who smoke each year.

Julie Gillon, Chief Executive for North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust said: “We have a responsibility to ensuring that our region thrives, from education to housing, job opportunities and population health. “By coming together as one single voice for the North East and North Cumbria, we can be louder than ever before.”