One of the big targets for the STP is to reduce the number of smokers in the population as a whole and, particularly, in expectant mothers.
The council public health departments and the NHS have jointly been trying out a new way of targeting pregnant women in Medway, South Kent Coast, Swale and Thanet, with a very personalised service.
Since December 2017, over 45 women in South Kent Coast and Thanet have stopped smoking as a result. Although early days, these are very encouraging results.
Andrew Scott-Clark , Director of Public Health for Kent and co-chair of the STP prevention workstream, said:
“These are amazing outcomes, way above the levels achieved in the past.
“These are likely to be vulnerable women who may not seek out services and are deeply addicted to nicotine. By offering a service that goes to them, we are able to help them manage their tobacco addiction – the single most important thing they can do to improve their health and that of their babies.
What’s more, the advisors are also picking up other issues for these women and their families, giving us the opportunity to help them give their babies a much healthier start in life.
BabyClear support from midwives
Meanwhile, midwives with a special interest in smoking in pregnancy working in hospitals in Kent are helping to improve the monitoring and referral to specialist stop smoking services of mothers-to-be, as part of the BabyClear project.
They are working with the other midwives in their teams to maximise the number of women whose carbon monoxide levels are checked. Women who smoke are identified and offered a referral for specialist stop smoking advice. The scheme meets good clinical practice guidance.
Smoking is a key risk factor for stillbirths and deaths of very young children.
“It is fantastic to see the impact midwives can have by talking to pregnant women about how giving up smoking will protect their babies’ health,” said Andrew.
I would like to thank every midwife who supports the health of mothers and babies in their care by checking carbon monoxide levels and ensuring support is offered.”