UK National Smoking Cessation Conference - UKNSCC
2009 UK National Smoking Cessation Conference - London more...

Training prisoners to become stop smoking mentors
Caroline Cooper, Stop Smoking Specialist, Somerset NHS Stop Smoking Service, Chard, UK, Stewart Brock, Public Health Specialist, NHS Somerset, UK, and Alison Farrell, Prison Nurse, HMP Cornhill, Shepton Mallet, UK


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Caroline Cooper


Stuart Brock Alison Farrell

HMP Cornhill is a category C prison in Shepton Mallet, Somerset where prisoners are serving life sentences. Due to the nature of the prison environment, motivation to stop and stay stopped is greatly reduced. To meet this challenge, stop smoking support groups for prisoners have been provided since 2000 by nurses in the prison service who completed Level 2 in stop smoking training.

It was suggested by the prison nurse that more support for prisoners during and after the stop smoking groups could assist quit rates and reduce relapse and that this help could be from the prisoners themselves. This was also a recommended approach in ‘Stop Smoking Support in HM Prisons: A Check List of Best Practice for Governors and Staff’ by Susan MacAskill, 2007.

In July 2008, with the agreement of the prison board pre-selected prisoners were trained as Stop Smoking Mentors by Specialists from the Somerset NHS Stop Smoking Service.

In August 2008 these Mentors began their new roles, supporting the Adviser in group sessions and offering extra support on the prison wings out of healthcare hours if needed.

On evaluation of recent in-house stop smoking groups the support programme has been met positively by prisoners. The need to maintain momentum by update sessions and training new Mentors has been identified and is ongoing.


About the presenters
Caroline Cooper joined the Somerset NHS Stop Smoking Service in 2003 as a Stop Smoking Specialist and has been supporting work at the prison for the last three years. Originally from a background of Sports Science, her work in health promotion evolved through physical activity referral schemes and community cardiac rehabilitation. As part of the team in Somerset, her specific area
of work focuses on the impact smoking has on health inequalities.

Alison Farrell worked as a midwife prior to joining HMP Cornhill in 2006 as a Prison Nurse. She was trained by Somerset NHS Stop Smoking Service to be a Level 2 Adviser. Alison has been running successful stop smoking groups in the prison for the last two years and was instrumental in setting up the mentor.


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