NHS Portsmouth has won a national award for its work to encourage people to stop smoking.
It beat more than 80 entries to be named the British Heart Foundation’s Organiser of the Year in the Best Community/Local Partnership Activity category.
Working with other local NHS trusts and the likes of Portsmouth Football Club, the city council, schools and GPs, the NHS won the award for the activities it organised on No Smoking Day in March.
The main event was a ‘shoe shoot’ – 325 pairs of old shoes laid out to represent the average number of deaths per year in the city caused by smoking-related diseases.
It was backed by former Pompey goalkeeper Alan Knight, who had quit using a Portsmouth service.
Portsmouth Hospitals NHS Trust, which runs Queen Alexandra Hospital in Cosham, also ran a poster competition with The News to highlight the problem of visitors smoking outside the main entrance.
Barbara Skinner, from the public health team at NHS Portsmouth, said: ‘In Portsmouth, there are five services helping people quit smoking, as well as others involved in referrals and support. We’ve all supported No Smoking Day in the past but we felt it would be for the greater good to pool resources and ideas, for the ultimate benefit of those wanting to stop smoking.
‘We had staff out and about both on foot and on the Pompey Health Bus at Fratton Park on a match day, as well as Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service’s community contact point van stationed in Commercial Road with smoking cessation staff and health trainers.’
Cllr Leo Madden, cabinet member for health and social care, said: ‘I’m pleased to see that by working together we have delivered the best possible service for the people of Portsmouth.
‘Collaborative working is the future for public health, as local council becomes responsible for this area of work from next April.’
For advice on quitting smoking stop smoking go to healthypompey.com or call (023) 9229 4001.