The Primary Care Respiratory Society

Inspiring best practice in respiratory care

This website is for healthcare professionals only



The Primary Care Respiratory Society

Inspiring best practice in respiratory care

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This website is for healthcare professionals only

Tobacco Dependency Guide - Meet the Experts

Meet the Experts

Darush Attar-Zadeh

A pharmacist based in the community and primary care; specialising in the field of treating tobacco dependency and AsthmaRightCare. Darush has presented at various national & international conferences (including the PCRS, IPCRG, ERS, Clinical Pharmacy Congress). Darush was part of the London Clinical Senate Helping Smokers Quit programme. In his role as respiratory lead pharmacist (NCL CCG (Barnet) & RightBreathe), Darush managed to lead a medicines management service to winning the pharmacist award in respiratory services 2016. In 2019 Darush was awarded PCPA GP Pharmacist runner up, recognised for pharmacological/non-pharmacological interventions. He runs group sessions with patients and clinicians. Darush enjoys running and raising money for respiratory & cardiac charities. One of his main missions is to reduce health inequalities caused by tobacco and spends a lot of his time teaching in deprived locations across the UK.

Noel Baxter

Noel is a portfolio GP who has spent most of his career in Southwark, London working in both clinical and commissioning roles and is now practising as a GP in Edinburgh. He has held regional roles including co-lead of the London respiratory strategic clinical network from 2010 until 2016 and the London Clinical Senate ‘Helping smokers quit’ delivery team programme that completed in August 2016. Nationally, he is the most recent ex Chair of PCRS, he led the primary care work stream of the RCP national asthma and COPD audit (NACAP) until 2018 and was a member of the 2017 NICE clinical guideline group for asthma management. He supports and has provided clinical advice to the British Lung Foundation and Asthma UK over many years and is a board member of ASH. In 2019 he took over the role of Policy Lead for PCRS and was appointed as a Board Director for the International Primary Care Respiratory Group (IPCRG).

Alex Bobak

Dr Alex Bobak is a GP in Wandsworth, London. He started running specialist stop smoking clinics in 2001 and became the first GPSI in smoking cessation in the UK. His main interests are the optimisation of the delivery of smoking cessation and teaching the subject to healthcare professionals. He was one of the pioneers of the development of very brief advice (VBA) by GPs to smokers and has carried out research into the pharmacological treatment of smoking and into how smoking cessation is taught to GP trainees. His work as a media doctor is now entirely focused on his campaign to promote evidence-based smoking cessation and anything that helps with tobacco control.

Hazel Cheeseman

Hazel Cheeseman is Director of Policy at ASH and has worked across health and social care policy in the UK and abroad. With a background in health and housing policy Hazel has particular expertise in local government and the delivery of policy at a local level. Hazel also co-ordinates two coalitions dedicated to addressing the health inequalities caused by smoking; The Smoking in Pregnancy Challenge Group and the Mental Health and Smoking Partnership.

Rachael Hodges

Rachael Hodges is the tobacco policy lead at the BLF. Her role involves shaping policy in key areas including smoking cessation services and e-cigarettes. Rachael works with the UK government, and organisations such as the NHS, to make sure policy is evidence based and has considered the voices of patients. Before joining the BLF in 2017, she worked for a health equalities charity where she helped make sure health services met the needs of LGBT people.

Steve Holmes

Steve Holmes has been a general practice principal since 1989 and continues to provide clinical care to the Shepton Mallet population in Somerset. He is a previous chair of PCRS and remains involved in the executive and education committee (with a background supporting the leadership programme). He is currently on the IPCRG Education committee - and is involved with clinical policy at the RCGP. He was on RCGP council for more than a decade, and has been involved in more than 250 published papers and has spoken widely. He is a current clinical lead for Integrated Care in Somerset ICS, a clinical respiratory lead for NHS England (South West) and co-chair of the Primary Care Respiratory Academy and the Taskforce for Lung Health Diagnosis Sub group representing the RCGP on the overall Taskforce for Lung Health. Steve has been involved in a variety of guidelines nationally and internationally and well as some of the guidance from PCRS. He enjoys keeping running when the opportunity arises and playing the piano and a variety of guitars badly.

Duncan Keeley

Duncan Keeley is Policy Lead on the Executive Committee of the Primary Care Respiratory Society – UK. . He has special interests in respiratory medicine and medical education. He now works as a portfolio GP and GP appraiser after 24 years as a GP principal at the Rycote Practice in Thame, Oxfordshire. He is an honorary tutor in general practice at the Department of Primary Care, University of Oxford. He was a GP Trainer from 1995 – 2013. He studied medicine at Cambridge University and The London Hospital. He trained in general medicine and paediatrics in London and then spent three years working as a paediatrician at Harare Central and Chitungwiza hospitals in Zimbabwe before entering general practice. He was an editorial adviser for the British Medical Journal from 1991 – 2001. He was a member of the Ethics Committee of the Royal College of General Practitioners from 2007-2013.

Andy McEwen

Andy worked as a nurse in acute and forensic psychiatry before specialising in the field of substance misuse treatment. In 1997 he completed an MSc in Addictive Behaviour at St George’s Hospital Medical School before beginning his clinical and then academic career in smoking cessation there with Professor Robert West. In 2003 he took up post as Assistant Director of Tobacco Studies and Senior Research Nurse at the Cancer Research UK Health Behaviour Research Centre, University College London and in 2005 received a PhD for his thesis, Smoking Cessation in General Practice. Andy has published over 120 papers in academic peer-reviewed journals. Since 2010 Andy has been Chief Executive of the National Centre for Smoking Cessation and Training. Andy McEwen has received travel funding, honorariums and consultancy payments from manufacturers of smoking cessation products (Pfizer Ltd, Novartis UK and GSK Consumer Healthcare Ltd) and hospitality from North51 who provide online and database services. He also receives payment for providing training to smoking cessation specialists and receives royalties from books on smoking cessation. Andy is an associate member of the New Nicotine Alliance (NNA), a charity that works to foster greater understanding of safer nicotine products and technologies.

Oonagh Potts

Oonagh is a highly experienced nurse practitioner, independent / supplementary prescriber. She works in general practice supporting with patients with a range of complex and long term conditions. She is passionate about patient empowerment, education and patients being equal participants in their care management. As a training practice she has an enthusiasm to support learners and student nurses through mentorship. In addition to her clinical caseload she continues working as a free-lance as regional trainer for Education for Health. She has served as an elected member of PCRS executive committee and sat on the service development committee. Currently she sits on both the Educational Committee and Tobacco Dependency Group campaigning to establish tobacco dependency as a long-term relapsing condition. She co- founded and chairs her local multidisciplinary respiratory group on the Fylde Coast which is affiliated to PCRS supporting education to health care professionals to give a voice in developing respiratory care pathways to optimise patient outcomes and transformational change.

Louise Restrick

Louise Restrick is an integrated consultant respiratory physician at Whittington Health and in Islington, North London. She shares clinical leadership of the London Respiratory Network with GP lead, Noel Baxter, and of the Whittington Health multi-disciplinary respiratory team, which works across the community, as well as in the hospital, with her respiratory consultant colleagues Sara Lock and Myra Stern. She has been part of the London Senate ‘Helping Smokers Quit’ leadership team www.londonsenate.nhs.uk/helping-smokers-quit and was a member of IMPRESS www.impressresp.com. She is committed to the delivery of high ‘value’ care (best outcomes/lowest cost) and working collaboratively with patients, families, carers and with physical health, mental health and social care colleagues to better address, diagnose and treat what matters to patients including frightening and/or disabling breathlessness, identify and treat tobacco dependence, and to reduce the inequalities ‘mortality gap’ for people with mental illness.

Ailsa Rutter OBE

Ailsa originally trained as a nurse in London (BSc Hons Kings College, London) and has worked in tobacco control since 1998 when she got the ‘bug’ during her time living and studying (MSc Health Sciences, Queensland University of Technology) in Australia in the 1990s. Her first tobacco post was heading up the Queensland Quit Campaign where she was involved in the world-renowned National Tobacco Campaign. On her return to the UK she managed the Gateshead and South Tyneside NHS Stop Smoking Service until 2004 before taking up the post of Department of Health Regional Tobacco Manager for the North East. In 2005 Ailsa working with others launched Fresh- Smoke Free North East – the UK’s first regional tobacco control programme- and has been its Director ever since. In 2014 Ailsa was awarded a World No Tobacco Day Medal by the World Health Organisation and an OBE in the New Year’s Honours 2017 for ‘services to tobacco control’. She is passionate about this work, having prematurely lost her father and auntie to COPD and is proud to be working with many committed partners to help achieve the vision of ‘making smoking history’ and reducing smoking to 5% by 2025 in the North East.

Vicky Salt

Vicky Salt is Manager at Action on Smoking and Health (UK).

Kamran Siddiqi

Kamran Siddiqi is a clinical academic with a background in chest medicine, public health and epidemiology. He works at the University of York as a professor in global public health and also holds an honorary consultant post in public health medicine at Public Health England. He chairs the tobacco control section at the International Union Against TB and Lung Diseases and co-lead the respiratory diseases group at the Global Alliance for Chronic Diseases. Previously, Kamran has worked as a consultant in chest medicine, education advisor to the National Institute of Health and Care Excellence (NICE), and medical officer at the World Health Organisation. He has served at several national funding boards and NICE guideline development committees. Kamran has published extensively on TB diagnosis, tobacco control and smoking cessation.

Hilary Wareing

Hilary Wareing is the Director of Improving Performance in Practice (iPiP) and the Tobacco Control Collaborating Centre (TCCC), she has a background in health service research and management as well as a clinical background as a Registered General Nurse, Midwife and Health Visitor. Hilary’s main areas of interest are developing the wider public health workforce and supporting organisations to implement evidence based practice and improve performance in practice. She is particularly interested in using an asset based approach in the development of public health initiatives. Hilary was involved in the implementation of Smokefree legislation in England and took a lead role in its implementation within mental health settings. The areas of work she is currently involved in includes; reducing the prevalence of smoking in pregnancy, promoting smokefree homes and cars, secondary care, mental health and supporting local authorities to review the commissioning of services to reduce prevalence and help people to quit.

Andrew Whittamore

Dr Andy Whittamore is a GP and Respiratory Lead in a large multi-site practice in Portsmouth. He has previously had roles with PCRS (Executive Committee and Chair of the Conference Organising Committee), Wessex AHSN (Primary Care Lead, Respiratory Programme) and Department of Health Respiratory Programme (regional lead). Andy currently spends two days per week as Clinical Lead for Asthma UK where he is responsible for clinical governance for the organisation and regularly contributes towards many facets of the charity’s work. This includes supporting the development of digital advice and support for people with asthma, multimedia content for the website and media teams, clinical insights to the Policy and External Affairs team and clinical input into Asthma Lab which provides insight and support to innovators developing digital products that can help people with asthma.

Siân Williams

Siân Williams is a health service manager focused on large-scale behaviour change, service improvement and value-based healthcare at an individual and population level using creative and compassionate approaches. She has addressed this in three UK programmes: IMProving and Integrating RESpiratory Services in the NHS (IMPRESS), NHS England London Respiratory Network and the London Clinical Senate’s Helping Smokers Quit programme. She is also the CEO of the International Primary Care Respiratory Group which runs similar programmes in low-, middle- and high-income countries. However, her early career was in arts management, and she has now returned to her first interest in dance. Having completed a Diploma in leading dance for older people in 2017, she combines her knowledge of respiratory health with her love of dance to create a programme of dance for people who live with long term breathlessness. Some publications: bit.ly/Siandancerefs