Help 2 Change Shropshire (left to right): Emma Peace, Claire Sweeney, Claire Harrison and Helen Mulliner
The Help2Change team already offered flexible support for pregnant women, including home visits from early morning and into the evening, and appointments at GP practice, pharmacy and community venues.
Last year the team introduced a telephone and text service for women who struggled to go to venues, or didn’t want face-to-face support, and also provided extra support to those who were attending face-to-face sessions.
As a result, the number of pregnant women who quit smoking at four weeks increased by 35 per cent, from 71 in 2014/15 to 96 in 2015/16.
This personalised support meant that advisors could discuss setting a quit date, habits, behaviour change, risks of smoking in pregnancy, addiction, withdrawal, treatments and queries about e-cigarettes.
Some of the women talked about coping with stressful times, and the advisors were able to talk about finding other ways of dealing with stress, and point out that once free of the addiction, stress and anxiety should reduce. The team also offered help and advice to family members.
With no extra funding the team, led by pregnancy advisor Claire Harrison, pooled time, resources and skills and shared the extra workload.
The team said that by ‘identifying gaps and thinking a little bit differently’, they were able to make an important impact by helping to support more pregnant women to quit and stay quit.
Of those who set a quit date the quit rate was 52 per cent. More importantly, although pregnant women are thought of as a hard-to-reach group, 57 per cent of pregnant women smokers set a quit date and around a third achieved four weeks quit. This compares well with targets for the general smoking population, where the ambition is for stop smoking services to reach 5 per cent of the smoking population.
Jo Glasscock praised the good quit rate ‘2 per cent above national average for pregnant smokers’ and the flexibility of the scheme. ‘Having 57 per cent of all pregnant smokers setting a quit date is fantastic,‘ she said.
Fiona Dobbie was ‘impressed with their commitment to help this priority group without additional funding’ and said Help2Change would have earned her winning vote if the presentation included some client feedback.