Saturday, 9 October 2010

Ballard not daunted by dismal quit rates in Tayside

A quit rate of one-third might not sound impressive, but Paul Ballard, deputy director of Public Health at NHS Tayside, isn't embarrassed about having spent nearly £4.5 million on trying to persuade/make/encourage/bribe people to give up. Because the cost of treating smoking related conditions is far greater than the cost of smoking cessation.

Well I think he should be embarrassed enough to order a review of NHS Tayside spending. One third is not a terribly promising success rate. I won't pretend to know what success rate is generally expected of medical preparations. But I would hazard an educated guess that we are not talking about a success rate of one-third really, we are talking about one-third of attempters managing to abstain from smoking for a four-week period. What use is that? Even Action on Smoking and Health (UK) knows that the long-term quit rate is abysmal (scroll down for this one). Scottish Government quit targets are expressed as a four-week term (see under smoking cessation services).

Paul Ballard's health board has effectively helped one-third of its attempting quitters to quit for four weeks. Whoopi-doo! Even after paying £½ million to some of his targets, this is the best he can manage. Has he realised that this expenditure is not reducing the cost of treating so-called smoking-related diseases? He's paying for both ineffective smoking cessation and the cost of treating smoking-related diseases.

Well done, Mr Ballard.


Anonymous said...

Considering that NRT has a success rate of 1.6% or for those who enjoy statistics a 98.4% failure rate it really does not come as a surprise that overall the quitting smoking has a 66% failure rate.

To rational taxpayers this cannot even remotely be considered a good use of taxpayers money.

An excellent example of your government's fiscal responsibility in action.

John Watson.

Eddie Douthwaite said...

Any other product with a 98.4 percent failure rate would be investigated by the Advertising Standards Agency or Trading Standards and withdrawn from the market.