Digital smokefree pregnancy platform shortlisted for HSJ Awards 2021

An innovative digital platform supporting midwives to help more pregnant people to quit smoking has been shortlisted for a 2021 HSJ Award.

The platform, which provides digital support to specialist midwives working on the Greater Manchester Smokefree Pregnancy programme, has been shortlisted for the Connecting Services and Information award.

Health Innovation Manchester (HInM) has worked with Greater Manchester Health and Social Care Partnership to develop the digital platform with the aim of reducing the amount of time spent inputting and collating data, creating more time for midwives to provide care.

During the pandemic, pregnant women were categorised as higher risk from COVID-19. With the additional pressures faced by frontline staff, the programme team recognised a need to improve efficiencies and relieve the admin burden on midwives.

Launched in January 2021, the platform transformed the paper-based process into a digital solution which is now being used across Greater Manchester to enable the programme to standardise the collection of data, showcase impact and identify opportunities to make improvements.

Guy Lucchi, Digital Innovation Director at Health Innovation Manchester and Greater Manchester Health and Social Care Partnership, said: “We are delighted that this innovative project has been recognised by the HSJ Awards and shortlisted in the Connecting Service and Information category. By collaborating with the system to identify the needs and co-design a digital solution, we are enabling this important service to continue to help people quit smoking while also reducing the administrative burden maternity teams have faced in the past.”

The platform has been developed in partnership with digital transformation specialists Objectivity Ltd., who are a strategic partner in Greater Manchester for digital healthcare technologies.

The Greater Manchester and Eastern Cheshire Patient Safety Collaborative, hosted by HInM, has also continued to support and embed the Greater Manchester Smokefree Pregnancy programme as part of the national Maternity and Neonatal Safety Improvement Programme aim of increasing the proportion of smoke-free pregnancies.

The HSJ Award nomination follows the release of new NHS data showing the number of people smoking during pregnancy in Greater Manchester has dropped to the lowest on record.

Smoking at the Time of Delivery (SATOD) rates have fallen by around a quarter in the past four years – down from 1 in 8 (12.6%) new mothers in 2017-18 to fewer than 1 in 10 (9.8%) in 2020-21, meaning 945 more babies were born smokefree.

It shows the success of the Greater Manchester Health and Social Care Partnership’s Smokefree Pregnancy programme which was set up in 2018 and is recognised as best practice nationally. In the 12 months between April 2020 and March 2021, the programme supported more than 1,700 people on their journey to stop smoking, including pregnant women and their partners, and saw a 65% successful quit rate.

The programme was created as part of efforts to give every baby the best start to life. NHS maternity staff in Greater Manchester are given comprehensive training to have open and honest conversations about the risks of smoking, use carbon monoxide (CO) screening to check for exposure to tobacco smoke and refer people who need help to a maternity-led stop smoking service.

Smoking during pregnancy or inhaling second-hand smoke from others (known as passive smoking), can raise levels of carbon monoxide (CO) within the body. This poisonous gas can restrict the essential oxygen supply to the baby and significantly increase the risk of complications such as miscarriage, premature birth, low birth weight and stillbirth.

About the HSJ Awards

The HSJ Awards 2021 recognise outstanding contributions to healthcare in what has been an exceptional and challenging period across the sector. More than 1000 entries across all categories were received, with 205 organisations, projects and individuals making it to the final shortlist. The judging panel was made up of a diverse range of highly influential and respected figures within the healthcare community.

The selected winners will be announced during the awards ceremony at Evolution, London on November 18th 2021. The full list of nominees for the HSJ Awards 2021 can be found on

Back to top