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Mission smokefree: journey for ProCare

Mission smokefree: journey for ProCare


  • Smokefree Aotearoa 2025Reduce the number of smokers across the ProCare* network in line with Smokefree Aotearoa 2025
  • Exceed target of 90% of smokers given brief advice and support set by Ministry of Health (up from 47%)
  • Improve ranking for national health target for ProCare* (from 29 out of 35 Primary Healthcare Organisations)

ProCARE logo* ProCare is New Zealand's largest network of qualified GPs and general practice teams, representing nearly 200 practices across the greater Auckland region, with over 800,000 enrolled patients.


  • Smoking is the leading cause of preventable death in New Zealand - approximately 4,500 deaths/year
  • Approximately 80% of smokers wish they had never started and 65% have tried to quit in the past five years

What did we find?

We consulted with GP practices to understand how to support them more effectively. We learned that:

  • Smoking advice is not given regularly
  • There are data inconsistencies when recording number of smokers
  • More training for practice staff is needed
  • There are limited relationships with smoking cessation providers
  • It is difficult to engage smokers if if they do not visit their GP

What did we do?

  1. Encouraged ABC approach for GP practices when consulting with patients:
    A.  Ask about smoking status
    B.  Provide Brief smokefree advice
    C.  Give Cessation support
  2. SWAT team (nurses/cessation experts) initiated to assist practices
  3. Introduced a text message programme to provide brief advice to patients via their mobile phones – 30% of recipients asked for help to quit
  4. ProCare staff partnered with Quitline to contact hard to reach patients after-hours
  5. Encouraged practices to run competitions for patients to help quit
  6. Offered incentives to practices to reach the health target

Did we make a difference?


1786 smokers helped to quit in Waitemata DHB region

Reduced number of smokers across ProCare network

ProCare finished 2nd in PHO league table (previously 29th out of 35)

Waitemata DHB finished 1st in the DHB league table (previously 19th)

Exceeded the national health target of 90%

Increased referrals to cessation services

Smokefree advice provided to 25,851 Waitemata DHB patients

Improvements from Jul 2013 - Jun 2014:

ProCare Smokefree Results Jun13-Jul14

Feedback from ProCare Practices

Working closely with the ProCare team was also definitely a key enabler… One area of support that really stood out was ProCare’s suggestion that we consider using texting to reach our patients.
- Greg Clarke, Health New Lynn Chief Executive

We moved from 40% performance with the smoking health target to maintaining around 94% now - flexible help really appreciated.
- Nurse Manager, Te Puna Hauora

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