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Helen Salisbury

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Background: GP based in Oxford

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Dr Helen Salisbury, a GP, talks about what they would do if somebody mentions that they would like to give up smoking.

Dr Helen Salisbury, a GP, talks about what they would do if somebody mentions that they would like to give up smoking.

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As a GP what would you do if somebody mentions that they would like to give up smoking?

First of all I would rejoice because I think it’s very important that people do give up smoking. It’s a very harmful habit. And the first question really is: What sort of help would you like with that? What have you tried? What has worked in the past? What has been difficult for you and for me it’s finding out what are the stumbling blocks to giving up. Often when people say they’d like to give up behind that is also a request for some help. And that help can be in the form of advice and just support. Actually if you have told someone you are going to do something that in itself is more of an impetus to do it rather than if it’s just a promise to yourself. So just being part, just hearing that intention can be helpful but often patients want more than that. They also want something concrete and in our practice and in most GP practices it’s the nurses who provide the detailed smoking cessation advice and also handle the prescriptions for all the different sorts of aids there are to smoking cessation, the different sorts of nicotine replacement and other tablets than can help.
 

Dr Helen Salisbury, a GP, explains what the smoking cessation nurses do.

Dr Helen Salisbury, a GP, explains what the smoking cessation nurses do.

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Smoking cessation nurses are key in this because they are the people who day in and day out see people, see people again and see people again and again and see people who have failed to quit and come again to be seen. And lots of people have to make lots of attempts to quitting smoking before they succeed and the smoking cessation nurses are there every time to help them to do that. They are there to provide both the psychological support and also to give them the prescriptions for the nicotine patches or whatever other aid they are using. But they are the people with whom patients can sort out the framework for giving up smoking, sort out the timetable they are going to aim for. So they are really very much the key part of smoking cessation for the NHS.
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