This site is intended for health professionals only

Leicestershire smoking cessation team wins NiP Cardiac Award

Jan Brenkley and her team, based in Leicestershire, have won the Nursing in Practice Cardiac Care Award, sponsored by Omron, for setting up a smoking cessation service.

Jan Brenkley has been been working as a practice nurse in a GP surgery with a population of 13,000 patients for the past six years. When she first moved to Leicestershire, no smoking cessation was being undertaken by practice nurses and she felt that her knowledge and experience were being wasted.

Jan persuaded the partners to allow her to see patients in surgery time for smoking cessation. According to the local NHS stop smoking service, she was disturbed to hear her area described as a notorious smoking black spot and that only four smokers were on the books, of a total population of 16,000. There were plans to cut down clinics due to lack of attendance.

Jan recognized a clear need and desire in her patients to quit, and quickly realized that she wanted to expand the service to provide support on many different levels and that, although the partners were very supportive allowing double appointments she invariably over-ran.

Another local GP expressed an interest and funded an assistant for six weeks. The clinic was advertised on websites and quickly, through referrals from both practices, patient numbers escalated dramatically.

After three months, however, with no funding for the assistant, the service faced closure. Jan finally approached the local "League of friends", who agreed to fund her pay. GPs have described the clinic as invaluable, taking the emphasis away from them.

Jan has recently become an Independent Nurse Prescriber and has access to all notes by signed consent. She uses a radical approach and questions what smokers understand about the drug, dependence, and what they feel smoking is doing for them.

The team tackles addictive, habitual and psychological elements for instance; they talk about whether they consider nicotine to be manipulative in their life. The aim is for the client to decide they really want this and that there are only positives from quitting smoking.  

Users of the service talk about "their" clinic and Jan and her team are always immensely proud and touched at what can be achieved with simple, non-judgmental encouragement and information.