Publication Details

McDermott, M. S., West, R., Brose, L. S. & Mcewen, A. (2012). Self-reported practices, attitudes and levels of training of practitioners in the English NHS Stop Smoking Services. Addictive Behaviors, 37 (4), 498-506.


The primary aim of the current study is to investigate the self-reported practices, attitudes and levels of training of stop smoking practitioners (SSPs) working at the English National Health Service's (NHS) Stop Smoking Services (SSSs). A secondary aim was to investigate differences between 'Specialist' and 'Community' SSPs. An online survey was conducted with 484 SSPs. Most (94%) SSPs offered one-to-one appointments to smokers, only 43% always used the abrupt quit model and 30% reported ever recommending particular medication to clients. SSPs reported an average of 3.7 days training when starting work and 26% reported never observing an experienced practitioner before seeing clients of their own. Over half (56%) never received clinical supervision. SSPs reported having generally positive attitudes towards their jobs, but reported feeling less positive about their prospects for future employment within the field. 'Specialist' SSPs reported receiving more days training (4.1 vs. 3.0, p = 0.002), more days observing an experienced practitioner when starting work (12.9 vs. 6.6, p < 0.001) and were more likely to receive clinical supervision (48.9% vs. 34.9%, p < 0.05) than 'Community' SSPs. Gaps between SSPs' current practices and evidence-based guidelines may be due to inadequate training. Similarly, differences in training between specialist and community SSPs may contribute to the observed difference in these practitioners' success rates. As recommended by the Department of Health for England, standardized training in evidence-based smoking cessation interventions should be implemented for both specialist and community SSPs.



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