A pilot underway in the Oldham area is allowing hospitals to test the referral of patients to community pharmacies to continue stop smoking treatment they started in hospital.
To access the service, people must have been referred by a participating hospital, and have started a stop smoking programme in hospital and not completed it before being discharged.
The service provides for a pharmacist or trained pharmacy team member to meet with the person stopping smoking or carry out consultations over the phone to discuss their quit progress. The pharmacy will review the nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) or medication prescribed by the hospital team and make any necessary adjustments to support the continued quit attempt.
The pilot, which is supported by the Pharmacy Integration Fund, started in Oldham in November 2020 and two other areas are due to be confirmed shortly. The outputs from the pilot will inform the potential inclusion of the service in the Community Pharmacy Contractual Framework for 2021-22, says NHS England.
Smoking cessation is identified in the NHS Long Term Plan as a key service that can improve the prevention of avoidable illness. The service being piloted is part of the wider aim to support hospital patients to continue their stop-smoking efforts after discharge. This is expected to increase one-year quit rates by 11 per cent and, when implemented, it could save the NHS “£85 million in healthcare resource use within 1 year”.