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Last Updated: Monday, 23 October 2006, 13:38 GMT 14:38 UK
Smokers urged to quit before ops
Man smoking
Health bosses say smokers take longer to recover from surgery
Smokers in Norfolk are being urged to quit before undergoing operations in an effort to cut hospital costs.

Norfolk Primary Care Trust said smokers earmarked for routine surgery will be referred to a smoking cessation clinic and given a target time to give up.

Research shows smokers take longer to recover from surgery and are more likely to have complications, according to health bosses.

Anyone needing urgent surgery will not be affected by the move.

Improve health

Doctors said they were following a programme tried in Newcastle-under-Lyme, Staffordshire.

"Norfolk is not the first to try this," said a spokesman for the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital in Norwich.

"The idea is that efforts will be made to help smokers stop before they have routine surgery.

"The hope is that it will improve people's general health and cut hospital costs."

He said he understood other health authorities were considering similar schemes.

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