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GPs Assisting Smokers Program

A general practice undertakes a conjoint approach with Quitline to assist smokers to quit

Please refer to the disclaimer before reading the case studies.


As part of GASP, GPs and Practice Nurses were offered an opportunity to enhance their counselling skills in smoking cessation by attending a 2.5 hour workshop on motivational interviewing and brief behaviour change. There were two workshop leaders: a GP and a Quitline counsellor. Several strategies were used to enhance the recognition and referral to Quitline counsellors:

  • the GP and the Quitline counsellor conjointly ran the workshop
  • in small group sessions, each facilitator demonstrated their approach to counselling
  • in a one minute ‘referral to Quitline’ spiel was developed to provide GPs and PNs with an efficient approach for referral to the Quitline

The benefits of involving the Quitline counsellor were many. GPs and PNs saw, first hand, the high-level skills and competencies of a Quitline counsellor. This had several follow-on effects, including greater subsequent referrals to the Quitline and greater preparedness of the practices to use PNs as counsellors. It saved the GPs time and many Practice Nurses embraced the opportunity to improve counselling skills that they have used with a number of different patient groups, including patients with asthma and diabetes.

Participants commented positively on the conjoint approach and how it added to the effectiveness of the GP and practice team intervention. They reported that Quitline referrals in their practices were subsequently monitored and improved.

Assoc Prof John Litt and the GASP team, including Flinders University and Quitline South Australia


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