An event to offer advice to people wanting to give up smoking or help with sleep apnoea has been held at the Cumberland Infirmary.
The event – to mark No Smoking Day and World Sleep Day – was opened by trust company secretary Daniel Scheffer who talked about what it means to be a member of North Cumbria Integrated NHS Foundation Trust and the trust’s #passthebaton campaign.
The #passthebaton campaign was launched in January to encourage people to take part in an activity and then nominate friends and family to do the same.
Since the start of the year, Mr Scheffer has been walking to company meetings within a two mile radius of the hospital.
He says he can visibly see the results of the extra exercise and said: “My breathing is a lot better.”
The first speaker was Dr Matthew Lane, a Respiratory Consultant Physician.
He gave an overview of both smoking cessation and sleep apnoea.
He said: “Stopping smoking is the biggest thing anyone can do to improve their short and medium term health.
“There are cost savings as well.”
Dr Lane said 10 per cent of the adult population are still smoking and there are about 36,000 smokers in north Cumbria.
He added: “The burden of smoking is quite considerable. We’ve got a lot of work to do. In north Cumbria there are still about 36,000 smokers.”
With regards to sleep apnoea, Dr Lane said: “Some people think they don’t sleep well because they have a busy life – or it’s just them.
“I remember when my son was born and the first six months were a bit of a fog – a bit blurry. Sleep apnoea is a bit like that.
“People with undiagnosed sleep apnoea are more likely to nod off behind the wheel of a car.”
Nicola Exton, a Sleep Apnoea Nurse Specialist at NCIC, said: “Sleep apnoea is a common disorder and people compensate for it very well. It’s not until it becomes an issue do they seek help.”
The last speaker at the event, held in the lecture theatre at the Cumberland Infirmary, was Smoking Cessation Advisor Liz McDonald.
She visits wards and answers internal referrals to try and get people to stop smoking.
She said: “The cost to the Cumbrian economy is £6.7m but you should never tell a smoker to stop smoking because if you do they won’t stop. They will tell you to go away. You need to be able to talk to them to find out what makes them smoke in the first place.”
“I’m passionate about informing, advising and getting through their journey.”