Smoking cessation funding
The Government issued a press release about its drive to phase out smoking, announcing that £70 million a year has been allocated for local authorities in England to support stop smoking services.
We were asked to comment on the likelihood that community pharmacy smoking cessation services would be funded by this.
Our Director of NHS Services at Community Pharmacy England, Alastair Buxton, said:
“Community pharmacy teams have always been a key part of local efforts to support people to stop smoking, but local commissioning of such services by councils has been impacted in recent years by reductions in public health budgets. The increased funding the Government has committed to provide to local authorities is good news and it should be used to increase the locally commissioned stop smoking support that community pharmacies provide.
“However, if the Government wants to avoid creating a postcode lottery for vital public health services such as this, we would strongly recommend the commissioning of a national service from pharmacies, building on the existing limited Advanced service. The recently published Vision for Community Pharmacy recommends widening the scope of the NHS Smoking Cessation Service to cover all smokers – rather than just those referred by NHS Trusts – as well as users of vapes. This is envisioned as part of a package of public health services helping position pharmacies as local health and wellbeing hubs.”