Emma Wates, Basmal Ria, James Ashbridge, Siew Leng Tan
Introduction & aims
Smoking is a risk factor for developing head and neck cancer and is arguably the biggest cause of preventable death in the UK. Smoking post-operatively also compromises wound healing and increases the risk of complications including infections. We aimed to identify and evaluate the current level of service provision that we are providing OMFS patients and any barriers to providing the recommended level of provision outlined by the British Thoracic Society guidelines 2012.
We conducted a telephone interview survey with OMFS DCTs throughout December 2016 phoning all hospitals on the BAOMS list of OMFS units from 2013. Two dentists and 1 medical student completed the telephone interviews with identical questioning.
99 DCTs from different units completed the survey from all 14 Deaneries in the UK. 97% of the respondents were dentally qualified and 3% medically qualified. 22% of DCTs stated that NRT was never nor infrequently prescribed for OMFS inpatients in their department. 36% of respondents stated that NRT was never nor infrequently prescribed on discharge summaries. 65% of respondents advised patients there is insufficient evidence to offer advice on e-cigarettes. Only 25% of DCTs were made aware of local smoking cessation services at hospital induction; 58% would have liked to have received this information; and 58% DCTs were made aware of local services post-induction. 52% of DCTs were advising patients to access smoking cessation services via their GP.
This survey highlights OMFS units are not providing sufficient support for patients involved in smoking cessation; there is a distinct lack of pharmacological therapeutic intervention and psychological support. Possible reasons for this include existing practice within units, time pressures or lack of awareness of guidelines. Regular audits should be carried out within units to ensure we are providing the highest standard of care to our patients.