Smoking numbers still too high

PRIMARY care trusts across the region are struggling to achieve targets to get people to stop smoking.In Ipswich, smoking cessation services were given a target to get 528 people to quit in 2003/4.

PRIMARY care trusts across the region are struggling to achieve targets to get people to stop smoking.

In Ipswich, smoking cessation services were given a target to get 528 people to quit in 2003/4.

However less than half that target was reached and the actual figure of people who stopped was 218.

The Norfolk, Suffolk and Cambridgeshire Strategic Health Authority is now looking at ways to help the stop smoking services.


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The figures relate to the number of smokers who have stopped for more than four weeks.

But Terry Ward, Director of Health Improvement at Ipswich Primary Care Trust said the target figures had increased dramatically since last year.

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He said that there should also be more figures to come in from practitioners in the area who have to yet sent in their data.

Mr Ward said: "We accept it as it is and are confident that next year we can hit it.

"As more figures come in it should be better than it currently looks although we may not hit the target."

Mr Ward said that the figures only show the people who have gone to the smoking cessation clinics needing help and not the people who have decided to give up on their own using other measures.

He said: "We recognise that people's behaviour is resistant to change in spite of everything.

"We are continuing to look for more innovative ways of getting people to use the service."

He said that during this year's health week in September it was hoped to get some public places doing a trial run of one or two days of stopping smoking on the premises to gauge people's reactions.

Helping people to stop smoking is one of the key targets for Primary Care Trusts in the Commission for Health Improvements Star Ratings.

A report by Nerinda Evans, head of performance at Ipswich PCT stated that the current position was of concern but it is not yet known where the commission will set the threshold nationally for achieving the target.

The report said: "The PCT is aware there are problems with lack of practice nurse time and pressure of work, also clinics have not been completing monitoring forms."

However she added that more nurses have recently been trained up and there is now more spaces in group clinics.

Mr Ward added that there are now more people available in the smoking cessation clinic to give people one to one help if it is needed.

He said the PCT also works with health visitors and organisations like Sure Start to encourage people to give up, but again those people would not be included in the target figures.

In the future it is also hoped that more money will be put into the service under the new General Medical Services contract.

n. What do you think? Write to us at Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN.

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