Individual runner up – Caroline Eley

Caroline is a pharmacist in Kenilworth who delivers a smoking cessation service under a local enhanced service contract, after receiving training from Warwickshire Stop Smoking Service. Two other pharmacies in Kenilworth also provide a stop smoking service, but to much smaller numbers of patients.

In 2011-12 the other two pharmacies in Kenilworth had five quit dates, Caroline’s pharmacy started part way during that year and had 29 quit dates.  In 2012-13 the other pharmacies had 0 quit dates (as of 27 March), and Caroline’s pharmacy has 94 quit dates by the same date, with 31 people quit for 4 weeks.

Jane Wright, NHS Warwickshire Stop Smoking Service manager, who nominated Caroline, says that although the quit rate appears relatively low, at 33 per cent, a lot of Caroline’s clients are young people and therefore a challenging group so this is a great achievement.

Every stop smoking practitioner and service deserves an award for the efforts they continue to put in to maintaining and developing their practice in the face of considerable difficulties.

Judge Andy McEwen, director of the National Centre for Smoking Cessation and Training (NCSCT)

When Caroline’s service started, she put up posters in youth centres and gave presentations at school assemblies to promote the stop smoking service to young people. The interest generated led her to run weekly sessions at the youth club, where young people ask questions about a range of topics, not just smoking. Three young people successfully achieved the Stoptober challenge and quit for the month. One is still quit and is now a great advocate for service.  Following the success of Stoptober, Caroline also ran a Fag Free February challenge.

Caroline claims that her service is successful with smokers because pharmacy staff mention the service to anyone looking at NRT. She says that this is their most effective method of recruiting quitters. Pharmacy staff also discuss the cost of smoking with customers, and posters about the service are displayed in the pharmacy window and elsewhere locally, including on pub doors.

Caroline Eley with a client

Jane says: ‘From the Stop Smoking Service’s point of view working with Caroline has been very rewarding and demonstrates how enthusiasm and commitment to go the extra mile can really make a difference.  Sometimes other service providers say they get low numbers because they have a low footfall interested in stopping smoking.  What Caroline has shown is that with some effort and creative thinking it’s possible to reach and access even challenging smokers, many of whom will now probably go on to have a long-lasting relationship with the pharmacy and go through their quitting journey there until they are quit for good.’