Individual commended - Joanna Feeney

Joanna Feeney, a specialist stop smoking advisor, at University Hospital North Durham, who now works for South Tees Stop Smoking Service, was nominated in recognition of her work on smoking prevention among pregnant women and for her role training maternity workers to deliver fast antismoking interventions.

Joanna’s nominator, Martyn Willmore, regional performance manager with Fresh Smokefree Northeast, says Joanna has ‘worked tirelessly’ over the last year to embed the North East babyClear approach of standardised CO (carbon monoxide) screening of all pregnant women during their antenatal booking appointment. This has required Joanna to train midwifery staff to deliver effective, brief interventions on smoking in pregnancy as standard at the eight-week booking appointment. She has picked up any immediate referrals from these maternity service interventions, and managed training updates for 120 midwifery staff.

The babyClear initiative was implemented fully from the end of the second quarter of 2013/14, and during the second half of that year there were 41 per cent more quit dates set by pregnant women compared to the same period in 2012/13. ‘This converted to a 43 per cent year-on-year rise in the number of successful, pregnant four-week quitters over that period,’ Martyn says.

Judge Dr Bobak says that smoking and pregnancy is a serious problem in the Northeast. ‘The impact Joanna made was fantastic – a 43 per cent quit rate in an area of enormous need.’