Friday, 20 August 2010

Surrey Primary Care Trust axes pharmacy-based smoking cessation services

Sad to learn that the funding for pharmacy-run smoking cessation services will be axed in the autumn! Surrey Primary Care Trust has announced that it will no longer fund pharmacies to offer smoking cessation after October. GP services will not be affected.

This (I understand) doesn't mean that you won't be able to buy Niquitin from the chemist. It means that pharmacies won't get incentive payments for enrolling patients on to smoking cessation services. See Appendix 2, para h in this Warwickshire PCT report from 2008/2009 that describes payments for every patient who names a quit date, successfully quits at this date, or, incredibly, fails to quit at this date.

Chemist & Druggist is aggrieved and to some extent I can sympathise with the argument that the services offered by pharmacists are being sacrificed so as to avoid antagonising the GPs and the BMA, and that the pharmacy has much more regular and convenient access to the public than the average GP. However it's difficult to get worked up about who gets the lion's share of the smoking cessation market. Even ASH UK acknowledges the treatment is a patch-up job (see 'Habit, not nicotine prompts cigarette cravings').

That's what we are talking about here: who gets the market share of a product that promotes official anti-smoking agendas, and who gets the sweeties for delivering the marketing service. There is surely a wider tale to tell of rivalries between pharmacies and medically trained personnel in delivering health care ...

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