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Gateshead, South Tyneside and Sunderland Stop smoking Service

A new model for the delivery of stop smoking support has been designed and implemented in Sunderland with the aim of increasing smokers’ access to services. Stop smoking support is being delivered by competent and motivated Level 2 Active Intervention (AI) providers in GP, pharmacy and community settings. A team of dedicated mentors provide intensive support and training to advisors to enable them to deliver the service to anyone wanting to quit, including priority groups such as pregnant smokers, BME communities and people with mental health issues.


Smokers wanting to quit can access support in a number of ways; by referring themselves directly to an approved AI provider, calling a free phone number at the Stop Smoking Service Hub (which is open 7-days per week) or finding details of their three nearest service providers via the text or web-based service locator.
A new approach to the management of client referrals has been developed by the Gateshead, South Tyneside and Sunderland NHS Stop Smoking Service Central Hub. The aim of the Hub is to provide a timely response to all stop smoking enquiries. The service focuses on the maintenance of an up to date Level 2 Active Intervention (AI) provider database and maximum client uptake is facilitated through the use of the Quit Manager referral management system. This ensures the client’s needs are matched to the most appropriate AI providers, for example pregnant smokers would only be signposted to AI providers that have pregnancy training.


The Hub follows up all referral and records whether the client has taken up the service. Confirmation letters and a welcome pack are sent to all clients agreeing to access one of the AI services, detailing information about how to contact their chosen provider. This welcome pack also helps to reduce any anxieties about accessing the service and helps to reduce DNAs. Those clients who do not take up the offer of support are followed up at routine intervals to establish whether they are ready to quit or would like to access a different provider.


Increasing levels of Brief Advice Level 1 Training

Level 1 tobacco brief intervention training has been incorporated in the Sunderland health champion programme as one of the core elements of training. Previous to the health champion programme, very few people were accessing the level 1 training each year. Since November 2011 we have had over 700 people attend the level 1 training many of which have then gone on to train as level 2 advisers.


The programme has been independently evaluated by Leeds Metropolitan University which found that there is good evidence that it is building individual and organisational capacity to address health issues within local communities. Key outcomes have been increased confidence and health awareness and evidence that health champions can make positive changes to their own health as well as influencing others.



Supporting Pregnant Women to Stop Smoking

As of 1st November 2012, the model of service provision in Sunderland has changed. Whereas previously all pregnant women who smoked were referred to the local NHS Stop Smoking Service delivered by one provider, the new model is focused on increasing choice of access. Pregnant women can now access stop smoking support from a various different GP Practices and Pharmacies throughout Sunderland.  For pregnant women under the age of 25, there is an option to see a local health care assistant who can also provide information around breast feeding. 



Following regional research into barriers faced by midwives when discussing smoking with pregnant women, Sunderland has supported the Northeast in implementing a co-ordinated approach to reducing maternal smoking levels across the region. This approach, “babyClear”, has been developed by the Tobacco Control Collaborating Centre (TCCC) and implemented in localities previously, but never on a regional footprint.


BabyClear will provide training and resources to front-line staff, supporting a quality, structured pathway for pregnant women to receive stop smoking support; this will cover the period from first booking appointment, through subsequent midwifery appointments, and includes the provision of excellent Stop Smoking.