As of April this year, Smokefreelife County Durham became another new addition to the list of smoking cessation services that we provide across the country. The new service will offer more free targeted support plus greater visibility and outreach to the people of the area.
The existing and dedicated 21 strong team (previously part of County Durham and Darlington NHS Foundation Trust) have transferred over to Solutions 4 Health under TUPE arrangements, which ensures continuity of care to existing service users and key council partners including pharmacists, GPs, midwives, hospital consultants, plus healthcare and voluntary sector professionals.
One of the key parts of the new service is the ‘wellness on wheels’ mobile unit, which takes support and advice directly to local communities and has an emphasis of delivering much needed support to hardly reached areas and minority groups.
Dianne Woodall, Durham County Council Public Health Portfolio Lead, said: “Stopping smoking is the single most important thing that people can do to both improve their health and save money – and we want to make it as easy as possible for our residents to quit. Over 86,000 people smoke in County Durham and this contributes to the death of nearly 1,200 people every year through lung and respiratory problems, cancer and heart disease.
“Solutions 4 Health is a very energetic, innovative and expert provider of stop smoking services and is most able to meet our specific local and rural needs. Their mobile unit will be particularly useful in the more rural areas of the county and delivering support to groups like pregnant women, low income families, routine and manual workers and the BME and Gypsy Traveller populations.”
Su Sear, Regional Lead for Smokefreelife County Durham, added: “We take a very positive approach and are about reducing health inequalities through supporting and empowering people to improve their health and well being. After all, smokers are at least four times more likely to quit successfully when they have professional support.
“Our aim is to raise the number of quitters to over 2,300 per annum and make the service accessible to every single smoker, because County Durham has a higher than national average adult smoking prevalence of 23%, whilst in more deprived areas it is over 30%.”
The Smokefreelife County Durham service will be available seven days a week across the region and additional services include a free telephone Quitline, plus text and email as well as traditional face-to-face support.