SMOKERS in York are to be strongly encouraged to give up smoking before they have operations – with proposals to offer hypnotherapy to help them quit.

The Stop Before Your Op policy aims to get people to stop smoking to improve the success rate of treatment and speed of recovery.

When patients who smoke go for elective procedures, doctors will make an “intervention”, informing them the Vale of York operates a Stop Before Your Op policy and offering stop smoking support.

Support offered is due to include hypnotherapy, the Vale of York Clinical Commissioning Group governing body meeting was told.

If taking time to stop smoking is unlikely to harm the patient, referral for elective procedures is likely to be delayed for a minimum of 12 weeks.

But those who say they cannot or will not stop smoking will be asked to sign a waiver acknowledging they have had advice and want to proceed with surgery.

They will then be referred through the referral support service with information stating the patient considers a quit attempt is socially or morally unacceptable, a report to the governors outlined.

Patients will not be denied surgery, the report states.

Cheryl McKay said in a written report presented to the meeting: “There is significicant evidence base about the risk of ill health and death attributed to smoking. There is further evidence that smoking reduces the benefits from surgery, smokers present for surgery at a younger age than their non-smoking counterparts and smoking affects post-operative recovery.

“The Stop Before Your Op policy is the first element of a whole system programme to tackle the harm done by tobacco, alcohol and obesity in order to improve overall health outcomes and address health inequalities.

The policy will have significant health gains for those that stop smoking.” Following surgery people who smoke are more likely to have complications, have reduced bone fusion, be admitted to intensive care and stay longer or die in hospital, the report notes.

Patients will be given an information leaflet about the benefits of stopping smoking – including a break down of the physical improvements to their health in the hours, days, months and years after smoking as well as support from smoking cessation services.

About 17 per cent of the population in York was believed to smoke in 2011/12 - lower than the English average of 20 per cent.

However smoking-attributable deaths from heart disease, stroke and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease in York contributed disproportionately to overall deaths More information about the programme will be released tomorrow, the CCG said.