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Early results suggest Whanganui open-access, walk-in 'Quit Clinics' prove very effective

Case Study

posted by Carl Billington on 7 September 2011

Whanganui Regional PHO have been piloting a walk-in clinic that offers a free service for smokers and their families, including a number of evening sessions. Patients can simply arrive, without reservations, to join clinics at any of a number of advertised times (times were listed on a streetsign outside the clinic and through the local community paper). The clinic aims to provide short-term medium-intensity interventions. During the first four weeks of the pilot, 82 smokers attended the clinic.

While a full evaluation will be completed by the end of November, Initial findings indicate that the clinic may reach more Maori patients and young people than general practices generally do: 31% of patients seen were Maori, with 25% aged less than 30. On top of this, Whanganui Regional PHO interviewed 67 patients who attended the clinics to gather some first hand feedback. A summary of those findings follows:

The things that patients seem appreciate most are:

  • The friendly, encouraging approach of the practice staff
  • Good information and advice being provided by knowledgeable clinicians
  • The ability to drop in without an appointment
  • The clinic being in an easily accessible location
  • 94% of respondents couldn't think of anything they didn't like about the approach.


In terms of quitting outcomes, the results included:

  • 89% of patients who received a prescription for NRT redeemed it
  • 36% of patients were smokefree 3 weeks after their first Quit Clinic visit
  • 91% of respondents intended to continue using the clinic and 100% said they would recommend it to others


The Whanganui practice also wrote to each of their enrolled smokers, providing them with advice to quit and inviting them to join one of the Quit Clinics or make an appointment for a consultation. These latters were later followed up with a phone call, restating the invitations. This approach, particularly with the additional phone follow up, proved to be highly successful.


We'll make further details and the final results available once the full evaluation comes in at the end of November.