For the second year running, The Advisor has held awards to showcase the very best in stop smoking support. Mark Gould reports on the winning individuals and teams.
The winners of The Advisor Awards 2014 showed impressive levels of ingenuity in targeting their campaigns at niche groups with specific needs and concerns. The judges said the winners demonstrated what can be done by being focused, whether it be identifying shortfalls and problems with an existing service, targeting the unmet needs of a migrant community, or driving home health messages to people about to undergo an operation.
The awards, now in their third year, honour innovation, leadership and ingenuity and the judges were highly impressed with the work of individual winner, pharmacist Michael J Walsh from Warrenpoint in County Down, Northern Ireland, who focused on improved communication and speeding up consultation processes. He even went as far as hiring the local town hall to get his message across.
On learning of Michael’s success, Jim Wells, Health Minister for Northern Ireland and Member of the Legislative Assembly for South Down, said: ‘I am delighted that Walsh’s Pharmacy has won this prestigious award. Over 80 per cent of smokers want to give up and local pharmacists play a crucial role in helping them do this.
‘It is so encouraging that a local, family-owned pharmacy based in South Down has beaten off stiff competition from throughout the UK to win this award. I would like to congratulate Michael Walsh and his Warrenpoint team on their success.’
Team winners Phoenix Stop Smoking Service, from Lincolnshire Community Health Service NHS Trust, realised that patients who were due to have an operation were the ideal audience to hear about the benefits of stopping smoking before surgery. The ‘Stop Before Your Op’ (SBYO) team explained to patients who smoked that they would experience better wound healing and recovery time if they quit, which of course translates to faster discharge – good for both patients and the NHS.
Judge Glyn McIntosh, chief executive of QUIT, says: ‘All the entries were of an extremely high standard. The chosen specific target groups needed innovative approaches to support them to quit, which all the winners succeeded in delivering. Everyone deserves an accolade for their enthusiastic and dedicated work.’
Judge Professor Peter Hajek, head of psychology and director of the Tobacco Dependence Research Unit at the Wolfson Institute of Preventive Medicine at Barts and The London School of Medicine and Dentistry, Queen Mary University of London, describes Michael Walsh as delivering ‘innovative schemes’ and says the Phoenix Stop Smoking Service were to be commended for improved referrals from hospitals ‘which is often difficult’.
To find out about The Advisor Awards and enter for 2015 click here