Background: During the COVID-19 pandemic, United Kingdom (UK) stop smoking services had to shift to remote delivery models due to social distancing regulations, later reintroducing face-to-face provision. The “Living Well Smokefree” service in North Yorkshire County Council adopted a hybrid model offering face-to-face, remote, or a mix of both. This evaluation aimed to assess the hybrid approach’s strengths and weaknesses and explore potential improvements. Methods: Conducted from September 2022 to February 2023, the evaluation consisted of three components. First, qualitative interviews involved 11 staff and 16 service users, analysed thematically. Second, quantitative data from the QuitManager system that monitored the numbers and proportions of individuals selecting and successfully completing a 4-week quit via each service option. Third, face-to-face service expenses data was used to estimate the value for money of additional face-to-face provision. The qualitative findings were used to give context to the quantitative data via an “expansion” approach and complementary analysis. Results: Overall, a hybrid model was seen to provide convenience and flexible options for support. In the evaluation, 733 individuals accessed the service, with 91.3% selecting remote support, 6.1% face-to-face, and 2.6% mixed provision. Remote support was valued by service users and staff for promoting openness, privacy, and reducing stigma, and was noted as removing access barriers and improving service availability. However, the absence of carbon monoxide monitoring in remote support raised accountability concerns. The trade-off in “quantity vs. quality” of quits was debated, as remote support reached more users but produced fewer carbon monoxide-validated quits. Primarily offering remote support could lead to substantial workloads, as staff often extend their roles to include social/mental health support, which was sometimes emotionally challenging. Offering service users a choice of support options was considered more important than the “cost-per-quit”. Improved dissemination of information to support service users in understanding their options for support was suggested. Conclusions: The hybrid approach allows smoking cessation services to evaluate which groups benefit from remote, face-to-face, or mixed options and allocate resources accordingly. Providing choice, flexible provision, non-judgmental support, and clear information about available options could improve engagement and match support to individual needs, enhancing outcomes.


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Woodrow, N., Gillespie, D., Kitchin, L., O’Brien, M., Chapman, S., Chng, N., Passey, A., Aquino, M., Clarke, Z. & Goyder, E. 2024, 'Reintroducing face-to-face support alongside remote support to form a hybrid stop smoking service in England: a formative mixed methods evaluation', BMC Public Health, 24, article no: 718. https://doi.org/10.1186/s12889-024-18235-0

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Last updated: 29 March 2024
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