New way to help Wiltshire addicts is welcomed

A group that supports people with drug and alcohol addictions has welcomed a restructuring of the services in Wiltshire.

Wiltshire Community Safety Partnership is changing the current provision, presently run by four different organisations, to just one.

Wiltshire Council tendered for a new service and the contract was given to Turning Point, a London-based social enterprise that has been in existence for almost 50 years and runs more than 250 specialist services, including treating substance misuse, in England and Wales.

It is proposing a new, integrated recovery-based service.

The current providers of drug and alcohol services in Wiltshire are Avon and Wiltshire Mental Heath Partnership NHS Trust, New Highway, Cranstoun and Swindon and Wiltshire Alcohol and Drug Service.

They operate out of six separate buildings.

Public health officials say the new service, to be known as Wiltshire Substance Misuse Service, will offer a single point of contact with two or three hubs across the county.

Bids for the service were evaluated by a panel which included representatives of Wiltshire Council, NHS Wiltshire, the Wiltshire Probation Trust and the Wiltshire Addiction Support Project (WASP).

Andrew Davidson, a service user and carer co-ordinator at WASP, said: “Generally, we are quite excited about the possibilities that Turning Point will bring.

“A complete redesign of the drug and alcohol system in Wiltshire has been needed for a while, to get to one provider.

“Trying to fit lots of different providers together has been tricky.

“Currently, people go to different services and are then referred to other services.

“Turning Point will set up a one-stop shop, which we hope will make life less complicated.

“Turning Point is proposing a recovery agenda. Staying stopped is the important thing.

“If you come out of rehab and nothing has changed – ie, you are still homeless and haven’t got a job – you will relapse. “Staying stopped is where we should concentrate our efforts – looking at people’s social, financial and job needs – and, hopefully, that will be part of the new system.”

Maggie Rae, director of public health in Wiltshire and chairman of the Wiltshire Community Safety Partnership, said: “Providing high quality treatment services for drugs and alcohol is vital in helping individuals, families and communities to improve health and wellbeing.

“Our treatment services in Wiltshire have proven difficult for people to navigate, due to the number of different providers we have had.

“Our move to an integrated service will improve both efficiencies and the outcomes for those who need support.”

The new service is due to start in April 2013.

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