(left to right) Rebekah Gore, Stephanie Heathcote, Tracey Matthewman, Marie Farrell and Elena O’Callaghan.

Team winner - The Phoenix Stop Smoking Service

Specialists from the Phoenix Stop Smoking Service in their distinctive pink uniform tunics can be found in outpatients at Lincoln County and Grantham hospitals in Lincolnshire promoting the Stop Before Your Op (SBYO) campaign. The initiative was launched in April last year and judge Dr Alex Bobak was so impressed he says every hospital needs one.

The Phoenix team, part of Lincolnshire Community Health Service NHS Trust, explain that patients who stop smoking prior to surgery or treatment are more likely to have fewer complications during and after their operation, require less anaesthetic, have a reduced risk of infections, faster wound

healing, and a shorter stay in hospital.

SBYO was seen as a perfect opportunity to develop an easy access point for referral to Phoenix, and has so far helped 437 people to start their quit journey. It was first launched in Boston’s Pilgrim Hospital in March 2013. Referrals rose dramatically from just 13 in February to 105 in March, 115 in April and 87 in May.

‘It’s not just about increasing referrals; our aim is to increase people’s awareness of smoking-related diseases and help people stop smoking,’ the team said in their entry. ‘We have already seen quits increase by 77 per cent compared to the previous financial year.’

Judge Glyn McIntosh says Phoenix Stop Smoking Service ‘certainly deserve to be the overall team winners’, and judge Dr Bobak was also very impressed. ‘Every NHS hospital should be doing this, and I can’t understand why they aren’t as the benefits are huge: faster recovery rates, better and faster wound healing time, fewer cancellations of operations and faster discharge. It’s a cheap and cheerful but hugely effective intervention,’ he says.