02 Oct 2022

South-East win at Health Service Excellence Awards - Kilkenny Live

South-East win at Health Service Excellence Awards - Kilkenny Live

Dr. Derval Howley (Head of Service/Health and Wellbeing, SECH), Mary O’ Donnell (Maternity Dept., Tipperary University Hospital, Clonmel), David Phelan (Smoking Cessation Officer, SECH), Kate Cassidy

This week, the HSE showcased and celebrated examples of the great work that is happening every day across its services at the 2022 Health Service Excellence Awards.

At an occasion presented by TV personality Brendan Courtney and held in Farmleigh House, Dublin, guest speakers included the Minster for Health Stephen Donnelly TD and CEO of the HSE Paul Reid.

The Health and Wellbeing Department in HSE/South East Community Healthcare were the winners in the “Excellence in Quality and Patient Safety” category. They were lauded for their project titled ‘Supporting Pregnant Women and Extended Family to Quit and Stay Quit’ as an outstanding example of how a service made made things better and improved the quality and patient safety for the patient/service user/client.

The annual Health Service Excellence Awards encourage and inspire people to develop better health services. The awards also promote shared learning for other teams through the award winner’s success stories.

Since the launch in January of 2020 of its “Supporting Pregnant Women to Quit and Stay Quit”, over 120 “Smoke Free Babies” have arrived at the maternity departments of University Hospital Waterford, Wexford General Hospital, St. Luke’s General Hospital Carlow/Kilkenny and Tipperary University Hospital in Clonmel. Supported by the government’s Sláintecare strategy for its aims of integrating hospital and primary care services, “Supporting Pregnant Women and Extended Family to Quit and Stay Quit’” operates as a free, dedicated support for pregnant women.

The programme takes referrals of pregnant women (in addition to partners and family members) from the four maternity departments in the South East and from primary care and community services in counties Carlow, Kilkenny, South Tipperary, Waterford and Wexford.

In its two and a half years of operation, over 1,600 referrals have been made to the “Supporting Pregnant Women and Extended Family to Quit and Stay Quit’” programme. Working with specially trained Smoking Cessation Officers, over 370 participants have achieved a “quit date” within weeks. In December 2021, upon completion of its pilot phase, the project was selected for ongoing funding and two new Health Promotion Officers were appointed to deliver dedicated services to the maternity population and their extended family.

Speaking at the Awards ceremony this week, Kate Cassidy (General Manager SECH, Health and Wellbeing/Project Lead for ‘Supporting Pregnant Women and Extended Family to Quit and Stay Quit’):

“Stopping smoking is the best thing you can do for yourself and your baby. We know, of course, that it can be difficult to do. We also know, however, that parents want to give their baby the best possible start in life. By using our 1:1 intensive stop smoking service or telephone support, participants can increase their chances of quitting fourfold. Nearly half of pregnant women who set a quit date with their stop smoking service go on to quit successfully. No matter what stage you or your partner are at in your pregnancy, it is never too late to stop smoking.”

“You will get the support you need and not be judged. Ask your midwife, GP, healthcare provider or practice nurse to refer yourself to the ‘Supporting Pregnant Women and Extended Family to Quit and Stay Quit’ programme. Once referred, a Smoking Cessation Officer will talk to you about your smoking habits and help you to build a plan to quit smoking. They will help you build confidence and motivate you to quit.”

Speaking at the event in Farmleigh House, the Minister for Health, Stephen Donnelly TD congratulated all involved and thanked them for their commitment to improving services in both a patient-centred, innovative way. HSE CEO Paul Reid said many of the projects reflect the values of Sláintecare – providing the right care at the right time in the right place and in developing change to bring services closer to our public. 


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