Community pharmacists will be able to refer women trying to conceive, as well as pregnant women and their families, to a scheme offering smoking cessation services within community pharmacy.
The pilot, run by Nottingham University Hospitals Trust, first announced in March 2022 and originally intended to run for one year, has now been expanded and extended to March 2024.
The scheme first built on the ‘NHS community pharmacy smoking cessation advanced service‘, through which hospitals can refer patients to participating community pharmacies after discharge to continue with stop-smoking treatment that they started in hospital.
As part of the extension, any community pharmacist in the pilot area can now refer patients to the scheme, whether or not they are offering the stop-smoking service in their pharmacy, according to a statement from the NHS Nottingham and Nottinghamshire Integrated Care Board (ICB) to The Pharmaceutical Journal.
Under the service expansion, women trying to conceive can now be referred for evidence-based smoking cessation support for 12 weeks, including a follow-up service, which had previously only been available to pregnant women and their families.
A spokesperson for NHS Nottingham and Nottinghamshire ICB said: “The service, which is in its very early stages, is testing a referral pathway from Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust’s maternity services to community pharmacy for expectant mothers and household members.
“Referrals can be made to a participating pharmacy of their choice so they can receive ongoing treatment, advice and support with their attempt to quit smoking. In addition to extending the pilot timeline, the criteria has now been widened to include people trying to conceive and to allow referral by members of the primary care team, including community pharmacy.“
Participating pharmacy contractors are paid £30 for an initial appointment, £10 for providing regular progress checks and £40 for a successful ‘quit’, which is verified with a carbon monoxide test.
The scheme has been designed to improve choice and create additional smoking cessation capacity in primary care for pregnant mothers and associated household members, but it also aimed at testing the digital referral mechanism between maternity services and community pharmacy.