BENDIGO Health will be part of a pilot program encouraging every smoker in the hospital to quit the habit.
The Supporting Patients to be Smokefree: an ABCD Approach in Victorian Health Services program will identify the smoking status of every patient.
Advice about quitting smoking will be provided and documented.
Ballarat Health Services, Goulburn Valley Health, Northeast Health Wangaratta, Kyabram District Health Service, Southwest Healthcare and Western Health will also be included in the initiative.
Bendigo Health chief executive John Mulder has embraced the initiative.
“The last localised data set completed in 2008 showed 11.95 per cent of all deaths in the Loddon Mallee region were smoking related, ranking the region slightly above the state average of 11.9 per cent.
“Bendigo Health became smoke-free in 2008 and we continue to promote the smoke-free message with our staff, patients and the wider community – this new program reinforces that message with the aim of further reductions in preventable smoking related disease and associated deaths.
“We can all be part of a healthy community if we each play our part and it’s as simple as healthy eating, regular exercise, moderate alcohol consumption, no illicit drugs and a smoke free environment.”
The pilot project is supported by Quit Victoria, the Australian Medical Association, the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners and the Victorian Network of Smokefree Healthcare Services.
Minister for Health David Davis said the program aimed to identify the smoking status of every patient in the Victorian health system.
“The Victorian Coalition Government is committed to protecting the Victorian community from tobacco-related harm,” Mr Davis said.
“About 4000 lives are lost each year in Victoria as a result of smoking and it costs $2.4 billion in direct health costs and lost productivity every year."