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NHS Smoking Cessation Service Pilot – Support for Targeted Lung Health Check (TLHC) screening

This pilot service follows on from the Smoking Cessation Transfer of Care pilots and the introduction of the NHS Smoking Cessation Service (SCS) into the Community Pharmacy Contractual Framework (CPCF).

It will test a referral pathway from NHS TLHC screening services to community pharmacy for patients with a desire to quit smoking.

Lung cancer is one of the most common types of cancer in the UK and worldwide. Every year in the UK, around 48,000 people are diagnosed with lung cancer and about 35,000 people die from the disease. Smoking is the most common cause of lung cancer. 

The UK National Screening Committee (UK NSC) has recommended targeted screening for lung cancer for people aged 55 to 74 identified as being at high risk of lung cancer.

The UK NSC considers the NHSE commissioned TLHC programme a feasible and effective starting point for lung screening in England. Since implementation the service has identified and invited over 800,000 patients for a TLHC and currently has 42 sites operating nationally (one per Cancer Alliance).

The ambition is for this service to be fully implemented by 2028/9 providing TLHCs for an estimated 6 million eligible people. 

Community pharmacies have the necessary skills to support a patient through a quit attempt.

It has been acknowledged that this screening service identifies smokers who have expressed a desire to quit, and this pathway connects this NHS screening service with the community pharmacies.

Aims of the service  

This pilot service aims to:

  • test a digital referral mechanism between NHS TLHC services and community pharmacy
  • improve choice and create extra smoking cessation capacity in primary care
  • reduce morbidity and mortality from smoking, and to reduce health inequalities associated with higher rates of smoking

This service has been designed to connect patients with appropriate NHS services in a timely way as part of integrated clinical pathways. 

What the service will provide

This pilot service offers patients consultations to support a quit attempt. These consultations include the:

  • provision of behavioural support
  • supply of Nicotine Replacement Therapy (NRT)

This service must be provided by an appropriately trained smoking cessation practitioner.

How individuals access the service

Patients who have been identified as a smoker during the TLHC consultation will be eligible to receive advice and treatment under this service.

With consent, an electronic transfer of data to support the referral will be sent from the NHS screening service to a community pharmacy of the patient’s choice that is registered for this pilot service.

Patients who wish to consult another healthcare provider for smoking cessation support when offered by the NHS TLHC service, are still free to do so. Individuals being referred through this pathway have already agreed to be referred to community pharmacy.

Registration for this pilot service

Only those pharmacy contractors who have been invited to deliver this pilot service in the pilot area can register to provide this pilot service from 1 June 2023. The service is intended to start on 1 July 2023. 

Register to provide the service

Service level agreement and service specification (Word: 413KB)