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Public Health. 2005 Apr;119(4):262-8.

General practitioners' views on and referral to NHS smoking cessation services.

Author information

1
Cancer Research UK, Health Behaviour Unit, University College London, 2-16 Torrington Place, WC1E 6BT London, UK. andy.mcewen@ucl.ac.uk

Abstract

OBJECTIVES:

Increasing the rate of smoking cessation remains a major public health goal. To help achieve this in the UK, National Health Service (NHS) smoking cessation services have been established to provide treatment for smokers wanting help with stopping. Referrals from general practitioners (GPs) are crucial to the success of these clinics. This study aimed to assess English GPs' self-reported interactions with, and attitudes towards, their local smoking cessation services.

STUDY DESIGN:

Postal survey assessing the attitudes of GPs in England towards, and formal interactions with, NHS smoking cessation services.

METHODS:

A questionnaire was posted to a random sample of 544 GPs in England (response rate 63%). GPs' self-reported interactions with smoking cessation services and their attitudes towards these clinics were assessed. GPs were also asked what factors determined whether they prescribed nicotine-replacement therapy (NRT) and Buproprion (Zyban), and what was the extent and nature of their smoking cessation interventions with their patients.

RESULTS:

Most GPs (94%) reported that they were aware of the specialist smoking cessation service in their area. Seventy percent of GPs supported the continuation of current funding for specialist smoking cessation services. Seventy percent reported that they referred patients to these services, and 55% had staff within their practices trained as community smoking cessation advisors. Most GPs (79%) reported 'clinical need' as a determinant of whether they prescribed NRT/Zyban, and a few GPs cited 'budgetary constraints' as a factor (15%). Ninety-eight percent of GPs reported that they record smoking status when new patients join their practice, and they advise smokers to stop 'at least every now and then'.

CONCLUSIONS:

GPs support the existence and continuation of specialist smoking cessation services, and most reported that they refer patients to them. Virtually every GP reported that they record smoking status when new patients join their practice, and they advise smokers to stop 'at least every now and then'.

PMID:
15733685
DOI:
10.1016/j.puhe.2004.05.016
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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