Published October 8th 2019

Are you ready? Electronic referrals to the free smoking cessation programme Ready Steady Quit just got easier for some GPs.

GPs who don’t already have a within-PMS referral pathway for Ready Steady Quit can now make an e-Referral via CareConnect.

The Ministry of Health-funded programme is available to patients living in the Auckland and Waitemata District Health Board areas and has been running since July 2016.

Ready Steady Quit’s Stop Smoking Services Manager Angela Chong says the face-to-face programme is tailor-made to suit a patient’s needs and has a 50% success rate for those who set a quit date.

“Once a patient has been referred to us, one of our Smokefree Practitioners makes contact with them and arranges a time to meet at their home, workplace, café or at one of our drop-in hubs,” Angela says.


Multi-lingual support

Language is no barrier for patients, with Smokefree Practitioners available who are fluent in English, te reo Māori, Samoan, Tongan, Niuean, Mandarin, Cantonese, Korean, Hindi, Gujarati and Czech.

“We work with the patient on a quit plan and quit date that suits them and we provide education and behaviour-change support. It’s driven by the patient and we are there to facilitate and help them achieve their goal.”

Follow-up meetings are based on the patient’s needs and can be face-to-face or on the phone. The programme is personalised so doesn’t have a set time frame.

“The number of follow-ups depends entirely on the needs of the patient. Some people need weekly meetings and some only need a couple of meetings.”


Support tools available

The programme offers free nicotine replacement therapy in the form of patches, gum and lozenges to help patients quit.

“We help determine the level and strength needed and we train them how to use them properly. If they aren’t on the right dosage or using the correct technique, they are not as effective for managing their withdrawal symptoms.”

The programme also uses carbon monoxide monitors, which are similar to breathalysers.

“It measures carbon monoxide levels in the blood and patients can see the level drop as they reduce the number of cigarettes they smoke. It’s really encouraging for them to see the progress they’re making.”

She says they don’t provide vapes but provide education on the differences in devices and e-liquids and how to use them.

“Vapes are a significantly reduced harm option and can be a viable transitional tool for some patients to become smokefree.”

The programme is available to any age group and people can re-enter the programme. People can also take part in the programme in groups, which they can create with whānau, friends or workplace colleagues”.


Maternity Incentive programme

Angela says GPs can also mention in the notes section of the e-Referral form if the patient is pregnant and a smoker.

“We also have a maternity incentive programme that helps pregnant women and their whānau become smokefree and create a smokefree home for their baby.”


How to refer to Ready, Steady, Quit:

  • open the patient record
  • select the HealthLink icon
  • click on the CareConnect e-Referrals link
  • launch the “Stop Smoking” service
  • complete the referral form, entering the email address you want updates to be sent to on your patient’s engagement with the service.