Smoker can’t get new drug

Help Me Quit: Jen and Tony Roocroft

Help Me Quit: Jen and Tony Roocroft

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A heavy smoker from Chorley claims she is being denied the drugs she needs to help her quit.

Mum-of-two Jennifer Roocroft, 46, has vowed to kick the habit after more than 30 years of smoking 20 cigarettes a day.

She believes with the help of a drug called Champix she would finally be able to give up but has been refused it because her medical practice - Acreswood Surgery, in Coppull - doesn’t support it.

The graphic designer, of Moor Road, said: “It was a really big thing for me to decide to quit after so long, but a couple of people I know had given up using Champix and so I decided that I would be able to as well.

“I went along to a smoking cessation clinic and was in a group with two others and the nurse there recommended the drug, but said I wouldn’t be able to have it as Coppull Medical Practice doesn’t prescribe it.”

Husband Anthony wrote a letter of complaint to the surgery and contacted Chorley MP Lindsay Hoyle to explain the situation.

He said: “My cousin had quit using Champix and it is freely available on the NHS, but I was told that the practice isn’t funded to prescribe it which seems bizarre when others in Chorley are.

“It’s like a medical catch-22 and Jen can’t be the only person who is missing out.”

Dr Steve Ward, NHS Central Lancashire medical director, said: “If Champix is considered to be a possible option, the patient is given a copy of a protocol to take to their GP explaining that it is a suggested treatment.

“The GP can then review the patient’s medical notes and history to decide whether to prescribe the medication, while our stop smoking team provides ongoing counselling support.”

The practice manager at Acreswood Surgery declined to comment.