Carys Spencer, pharmacist and manager at Pontyclun Pharmacy, South Wales, talks to Saša Janković about taking smoking cessation advice into the community

Service type: Smoking cessation

Name and location of pharmacy: Pontyclun Pharmacy, South Wales

Name of pharmacist: Carys Spencer

Why did you start offering this service?

I offered the Welsh smoking cessation service in my pharmacy, and friend of mine who works for the Tenovus Cancer Care charity knew someone at Action on Smoking and Health (ASH) Wales who was looking for pharmacists to support their off-site education programme, so I have been involved in that as well.

What, if any, training did you or other team members have to undergo?

There is training for the NHS service available as part of the Higher Education Improvement Wales training package.

In a nutshell, what does the service involve?

The Welsh smoking cessation service has two tiers, and I offer up to the highest one, which is a 12-week supervised programme of behavioural support and NRT – although not with Champix, as that is still unavailable.

The lower tier involves all staff members and is triggered when a service user has been referred to the pharmacy by a dedicated smoking cessation advisor with a note of what that person should have, and any member of the team can supply it.

With the ASH Wales service I have been able to take smoking cessation advice offsite. This has included going to Bridgend College to speak to younger people who are smoking, as well as in the Amazon distribution centre in Swansea. The ASH Wales team talk about what the charity offers, and if people want to quit I can signpost them to their nearest pharmacy that is running the service.

How have patients responded to the service?

People do like coming to the pharmacy for the service. I definitely noticed a change of engagement during Covid when carbon monoxide monitoring was suspended because we couldn’t ask people to blow into the device.

Roughly how often each month do you carry out the service?

It can vary. We usually see around 3-4 people a month, and it gets a bit busier after new year.

Would you recommend offering this service to other contractors?

I have a part-time role in the health board as well now, so am trying to improve engagement across community pharmacy. There are 111 pharmacies in the health board, and about 102 offer the level 2 service, so it is likely that someone will know something about smoking cessation.