Pharmacist Jatin Damani from Safedale Pharmacy in Haringey, London, talks to Saša Janković about their smoking cessation service.

Service type: Smoking cessation

Name and location of pharmacy: Safedale Pharmacy, Haringey

Name of pharmacist: Jatin Damani

Why did you start offering this service?

There are a lot of people in our community who still smoke, and it has been shown that engaging in a smoking cessation programme makes it four times more likely that people will give up.

How much did it cost to set up the service?

Nothing – it is a subsidised service run by Smokefree City & Hackney for people aged 18 and over in our area. We started the service about 15 years ago.

What, if any, training did you or other team members have to undergo? Smokefree City & Hackney run three levels of training for staff – Level 1, Level 2 and Refresher. Pharmacists have to do the Level 2, which gives us the ability to deliver intensive 1-2-1 support to anyone who is motivated enough to quit. To be able to run the service in the pharmacy we also have to be certified by the National Centre for Smoking Cessation Training (NCSCT).

Our dispenser is a Level 2 advisor as well, and our counter staff have completed the NCSCT’s VBA accreditation (very brief advice) so they can initiate conversations with customers too.

In a nutshell, what does the service involve?

It’s a 12-week programme with a half-hour initial appointment and follow-up sessions of about 10 minutes to support people in their quit attempt and supply the appropriate NRT products.

Are there any opportunities to sell OTC or prescription products during or after the consultation?

E-cigarettes are not currently something we can supply as part of the service, but we can advise people about them, and that they can be used alongside anything we give them as well. We’ve got to arm the patient with as much stuff as possible to help them quit.

How have patients responded to the service?

A lot of success is about encouragement. We see people who come in not very confident but willing to give it a go, and there’s always a few of them who get through the programme and succeed.

People do have hiccups with their quitting, which we allow in the early stages, and the funding lets us take the patient back for another 12 weeks if they want, which is better for NHS in the long run in term of costs.

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

Pre-Covid we were seeing between 5-10 patients a week between two advisors, and it is just picking up again now.

How much do you charge for the service?

It is a commissioned service through City & Hackney, so it’s free to patients.

Roughly how much a month do you make from offering the service?

City & Hackney pay us £6.25 for setting a quit date with the patient, with a further fee of £76.25 when they have completed the programme.

Would you recommend offering this service to other contractors?

Yes, because it’s really satisfying to be able to help people quit, but it is vital that you’ve got the support structure in place in the pharmacy with staff who are able to capture and recognise customers as well.