More than one in five pregnant women in Corby are smokers, latest figures reveal.
The figures, officially released yesterday by the director of public health, show that the town has the highest number of pregnant smokers in the county, with an average of 198 per year.
In the future the Wellbeing Community Interest Company will deliver stop smoking support services to pregnant womenNorthamptonshire County Council
While many of the county boroughs show around three to four per cent of the pregnant population to be smoking, the Corby figure brings the county average to 15.6 per cent, compared with 12 per cent nationally.
In terms of general smoking prevalence, Corby is at the top end of the scale with almost a third of the population smoking: 28.2 per cent, where the worst borough in the UK is 30 per cent.
The number of smoking-related deaths recorded in the town is also significantly higher than the national average at an average of 119 per year, as is the number of women who become pregnant under the age of 18, an average of 46 per year.
Northamptonshire County Council has a direct responsibility over the ‘smoking status at time of delivery’ figures, which are categorised as ‘significantly worse’ than the national average in the report, but does not provide targeted stop smoking support to pregnant women.
The council has said that it is currently reviewing the way it provides its general Stop Smoking Service, which is delivered by Northamptonshire Healthcare Foundation Trust (NHFT).
A council spokesman said: “NHFT currently offers a universal service which means that targeted support to pregnant women is not provided.
“This service, along with many other prevention services, are being reviewed as the county council, NHFT and the University of Northampton work together to form a Wellbeing Community Interest Company (CiC).
“This new company will concentrate on delivering prevention services to improve the health and wellbeing of the residents of Northamptonshire and will be created and become operational during 2015.
“In the future the Wellbeing Community Interest Company will deliver stop smoking support services to pregnant women and it will be a key ambition to reduce the number of mothers smoking.”
Part of this plan will include working with groups involved in midwifery as well as stop smoking initiatives to develop a ‘stop smoking in pregnancy pathway’ to identify areas of need for pregnant women and ensure targeted support.
The council spokesman added: “We know from surveys that the major problem for pregnant women who smoke is getting access to the support they need.
“Plans to train members of the Midwifery Support Team to deliver stop smoking support are being developed; this innovative and creative approach would provide a flexible, accessible service for women who currently struggle to stop smoking during pregnancy.”