Justifying The Effectiveness and Quality of Substance Misuse Services Has Never Been More Necessary.

There is currently a very prominent debate regarding the reduction in funding for substance misuse services and rightly so. The emphasis on ensuring we are competent and thoughtful guardians of funding, and that we properly benefit service users has never been more important.

Local Authorities are experiencing significant challenges to their budgets and there are numerous patient groups deserving of funding. In light of this, there is a strong moral imperative to use the monies we receive effectively. This is even more important because:

  1. We are seeing the highest levels of drug related deaths since records began - in 2016 this numbered 2593 deaths.

  2. Recovery rates are dropping for opiate users. In 2011/12 treatment completion was 8.59%; in the year ending November 2017, the recovery rate was 6.7% (NDTMS data). This is despite a narrative in procurement exercises that service redesign has resulted in improved outcomes for service users.  

  3. The CQC’s recent review of non NHS residential in-patient detox facilities was shocking: 63% of services assessed as not meeting the regulation on ‘safe care and treatment’ (CQC).  

  4. The unfortunate demise of Lifeline, a charity once with an income of £53million, demonstrated poor organisational governance and left over 5300 potential creditors, including other charities.

NHS SMPA is committed to advocating for appropriate and safe levels of funding within the Substance Misuse sector, but we must not ignore that there have been very significant indications that the sector needs to improve its governance and outcomes for patients. NHS SMPA members have a public service and moral duty to achieve this. Over the coming years NHS SMPA providers will make our contribution and commit our expertise to evidencing the effectiveness and quality of what we offer.

If you are a NHS trust and would like to find out more about NHS SMPA please get in touch.