NHS Community Pharmacies are a great place for patients to get smoking cessation advice. Through this pilot, hospitals will test sending patients to community pharmacies to continue their smoking cessation journey at the hospital.

The purpose of this project:

  • Support for patients who have started a smoking cessation program at the hospital to continue their journey to the public pharmacy after discharge from the hospital
  • to promote healthy behaviors to service users
  • Test a community pharmacy model that can refer patients from hospital to pharmacy to stop smoking

It is important to quit smoking and why

The NHS Long-Term Plan emphasizes the importance of preventing preventable diseases and more active public health management. Smoking cessation has been specifically identified as a key service that can improve the prevention of preventable diseases. The plan suggests that existing smoking cessation services could be expanded to provide more support to patients who want to quit smoking, as well as patients who are exposed to second-hand smoke.

Smoking is one of the most preventable causes of illness and premature death in the United Kingdom (Allender, 2009), and smoking-related illness places a significant burden on NHS resources. In 2015-16, 474,000 hospital admissions and 79,000 deaths were reported, costing the NHS 2.5 billion pounds (Nice Guide NG92). The service is part of a broader goal to support hospital patients to continue their smoking cessation efforts after discharge, which is expected to increase annual discharge rates by 11% and save the NHS £ 85 million. In the use of health resources for 1 year ”(Mullen, 2010; Royal College of Physicians, 2018).

Closing the gap between second-hand smoking cessation services and public pharmacy services provides additional support to the smoking cessation campaign in the UK at a time when there is a growing need to quit smoking to protect the health of patients. According to the Cigarette Health Act, “Smokers who are hospitalized with COVID-19 are more likely to have serious consequences than non-smokers.” Since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, more than a million people in the UK have quit smoking and another 440,000 have tried to quit.

What the service will provide

A pharmacist or a member of the trained pharmacy team will meet with the smoker or consult over the phone to discuss their progress. They will review nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) or medications prescribed by the hospital team and make the necessary adjustments to support continued withdrawal.

How people enter the service

People to access the service:

  • The participant was sent to a hospital
  • He started a smoking cessation program at the hospital and did not complete it before leaving home
  1. A caregiver or partner of someone who has started a smoking cessation program at the hospital and has not completed it before leaving the hospital can be supported through local services.

To provide this pilot service, community pharmacies should be located near one of the following hospitals. These areas include:

  • Oldham Hospital, Greater Manchester
  • Two more areas are being developed and will be approved soon

The first pilot site in Oldham was launched in November 2020. The pilot will be evaluated and the results will inform the potential inclusion of this service in the Community Pharmaceutical Contract Framework for 2021/22.