The Pharmacist September/October 2018 - Page 32

MASTERCLASS Smoking cessation case study: ‘Passion and enthusiasm are key’ Rachel Carter speaks to Jack Lewis, pharmacy manager at Mayberry Pharmacy Blackwood in south Wales, about how he helps patients to quit smoking harmacist Jack Lewis says the best part of running a smoking cessation service is hearing the individual stories of patients whose lives have been changed by quitting. He remembers the first patients to use the service: one person, after quitting for six weeks, could finally walk up the steep hill in Blackwood high street without panting for breath; the couple who quit together and could afford to run a second car and the man who managed to save enough money to take his grandson on holiday. ‘These are the little things in life that non-smokers would take for granted,’ Mr Lewis says, ‘but those are the kind of things I love to hear about.’ P ‘Supportive service’ Mr Lewis has been running the smoking cessation service at Mayberry Pharmacy Blackwood in South East Wales since last August. In the first quarter of 2018-19 (April to June), nine out of the 10 patients supported by the service quit smoking after four weeks. The enhanced service is funded by NHS Wales and is divided into two 12-week programmes. The pharmacist will supply smoking cessation products to patients referred to them by the national stop- smoking service, and then ensure there is no interaction with existing medications. In next step, the pharmacist provides behavioural support to the patient, as well as 32 | The Pharmacist | September/October 2018 products, and guides them through the smoking cessation process. This involves meeting with the patient for a consultation on a weekly basis for five weeks, and once a fortnight for the remaining seven weeks. ‘Financially rewarding’ As well as being reimbursed for any products supplied to patients, the pharmacy receives payments from NHS Wales for each consultation. The longer the patient stays in the programme, the higher the payments will be, Mr Lewis says. ‘The only thing you need to offset the cost against is the products and the time the pharmacist spends with the patient, which you’re paying for anyway,’ he adds. ‘As pharmacists we love to spend time with patients to better their health, so it’s beneficial for the pharmacy and the financial benefits are there as well.’ ‘Consultation technique’ Before delivering the service, Mr Lewis was required to undertake a training programme provided by the Wales Centre for Pharmacy Professional Education (PPE). This involved an online course and a face-to-face interactive session, which included information on the products available to patients, how to use them and different consultation techniques, as well as an online assessment. ‘Once you’ve learned all that, it’s a case of developing your own way of speaking with patients — I’m sure every pharmacist would do it slightly differently,’ he says. Be prepared to invest in people, spend time with them and really get to know them A patient will have to show that they are motivated to quit. They are provided with a quit book, and information on what’s expected of them and what support they can expect from the pharmacist. If they decide to enroll, then the first consultation usually takes about 20 minutes, Mr Lewis says. This involves completing paperwork about the patient’s smoking habits and reasons for quitting, measuring their baseline carbon monoxide level, and discussing what products might be most suitable for them and why. ‘I also like to fill the patient with confidence before they leave, tell them I have faith in them and start building up that positive spin on it,’ Mr Lewis adds. ‘The following consultations are usually pretty straightforward — and can take as little as two to three minutes.’ ‘Absorbing pressures’ Mr Lewis sees all the smoking cessation patients at his pharmacy, which has enabled him to ‘build a bond’ with them. The pharmacy didn’t run a specific marketing campaign to draw patients in, he adds, but there are two large posters on display in the pharmacy’s windows and he also attended a meeting with ‘smoking champions’ from local GP surgeries. ‘This is where I could put my name forward as a pharmacy who is happy to take on new people to help absorb some of the pressures off the doctors. That was one of the things I did first. But apart from that, it’s mostly been word of mouth,’ Mr Lewis says. ‘Passion and enthusiasm’ Mr Lewis says his best piece of advice for other independent contractors interested in setting up a smoking cessation serviceis to ‘be prepared to invest in people, spend time with them and really get to know them’. ‘People smoke at certain times and when they do certain things, and by taking an interest in what they get up, you can have a direct impact and tailor the support,’ he adds. ‘Being enthusiastic and passionate about what you are doing is how you get people in, and how you keep them.’ Rachel Carter is a freelance journalist