September 2017

Ask service leader Tam Ruakere what the secret is to being the country’s number one stop smoking service and she will say it is all about the people:

“It’s having the right people and the right attitude.”

Tam has every reason to be proud of the team that makes up the Taranaki Stop Smoking Service (TSSS) – that is quit coaches: Emma Dillon, George Rapana and Janine Lineham, administrator Alison Franklin and business analyst Steve Perry. Last week TSSS were named, along with Northland, as New Zealand’s top stop smoking provider.

Data released by the Ministry of Health at a recent regional tobacco integration hui demonstrated that TSSS truly are leaders in the field. Their impact rating is 12, out of a possible 15 and they rank as the most cost effective service in the country. The cost to the service here of one person quitting is $588, compared to over $1,000 in most other areas.

Tam says the recognition has really put Tui Ora on the map as a quality smoking cessation service. Her phone has been red hot with calls from other providers seeking advice, information and details about their service model.

“We are happy to share our knowledge. The more we can contribute to community wellness the better for all of us.”

Since the findings were released, the TSSS has been invited to collaborate with the Health Promotion Agency on educational videos and for speakers to talk at national forums on the subject.

Tam says it’s important to recognise that the success has been four years in the making, and is not some overnight success.

“This has been a massive team effort. Our people are trained and they have the right resources around them, but it’s mostly that they are outstanding people who are fabulous at their jobs.”

Tam also acknowledged the hard work of Jan Stewart from Pinnacle, former Tui Ora health promoter Carla Adlam and Cilla Rei who works from Hawera providing a service to South Taranaki.

While Tam and the team will continue to bask in the glory for a little while longer, she says it’s important to stay humble and remain focussed on areas for improvement:

“The number of referrals from the health sector to TSSS is incredibly low - only 5%. We need to work on this and get it up. Imagine the results if every referral lead to an enrolment and a quit date being set.

“Even at Tui Ora, where staff are in whānau homes every day they need to be asking the question: is there anyone in the house that is smoking? How about I connect you to a quit coach for a conversation about how they can help you stop.”

If you would like to stop smoking please contact the TSSS team on 06 759 7314 or email [email protected]

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