Review of Alcohol Treatment Services
Alcohol Concern undertook a project on behalf of the Recovery Partnership to review the current state of alcohol treatment in England. Alcohol Concern conducted three national surveys, 46 interviews, and 14 workshops to find out how recent changes in health and social care have impacted on the service user journey through services, commissioning, the training cof staff and the needs of specific groups, especially carers.
The review identified four key findings:
- The enthusiasm of the alcohol field for being involved in a debate about its future;
- the gap in meeting the needs of people with ‘dual diagnosis’;
- managing change resistant drinkers with chaotic patterns of behaviour;
- the problems being experienced in the residential rehabilitation sector.
Read the full report here (pdf).
The most powerful of these was the failure to meet the needs of the dually diagnosed. The view was that this ongoing problem may be worsening because budgets have been cut in mental health services and they are now commissioned by a separate body (CCGs) from alcohol services (Public Health). This represents a real blockage in the pathway of care for problem drinkers. Moreover it is not one that can easily be resolved at the local level
A widely held view was that the physical health of alcohol service users is worsening. This links to national concerns about the rising rate of alcohol related liver disease. This raised questions about professional training and whether the pressure to reduce costs is reducing knowledge about physical ill-health.