A report by Action on Smoking and Health (ASH), commissioned by Cancer Research UK, 39% of local authorities in England have cut funding for stop smoking services in their budget 2015-16.
29% of those that cut their budget for this service did so by over 5%.
In conclusion to the report, it stated that the Government must establish a sustainable funding model to keep stop smoking services available.
It also called for all stop smoking services to be evidence-based and in accordance to NICE guidelines.
In response to the report, the Royal College of Midwives (RCM) believes funding cuts for these services are “counter-productive” to the UK Government’s ambition to reduce stillbirth rates.
Professional Policy Advisor for the union, Janet Fyle said: “We are concerned at the finding of this report. The Government have recently announced a welcome and ambitious plan to reduce the rate of stillbirths. Smoking during pregnancy is a risk factor for stillbirths. These cuts quite simply are counter-productive to the Government’s ambition.
“Midwives will find it difficult to encourage and support women to stop smoking if the smoking cessation services they need to refer them to are not there.
“If we are serious about reducing the negative consequences of smoking in pregnancy, smoking cessation services should be increased, not reduced. The RCM supports the reports’ authors call for the appropriate level of funding for smoking cessation services.”
The ASH Reading Between The Lines has 118 respondents, with an 86% response rate, representing 126 local authorities in England.
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