The Concordat Watchdog to expose poor commissioning.
* We are grateful to Addiction Today for kind permission to reproduce this article. *
WATCHDOG LAUNCHES TO SAVE VITAL REHABS
REHABS PREPARE TO NAME AND SHAME LOCAL HEALTH AND COUNCIL CHIEFS
The Concordat Watchdog is officially launching on 14 September in the House of Commons. The event is being hosted by Amber Rudd MP. Deirdre Boyd and the Rt Hon Lord Mancroft will speak at the event.
The government’s drive to get addicts off drugs to reduce related crime, benefit dependency and the burden on the NHS, is at risk of being strangled at birth by poor commissioning, according to the Concordat expert group of over 40 UK drug-free rehab providers. It is launching the watchdog to police the decisions of local drug and alcohol commissioners to check they are using public funds in line with government policy and regulations and highlight failings.
The ‘Concordat’ of residential rehab providers decided to take the dramatic step of launching the watchdog as evidence mounts that commissioners around the country are going against government policy and underinvesting in abstinence-based recovery, the goal of government.
JOINT STRENGTHS WITH THE NTA
Serious recognition of the need for best-practice commissioning is demonstrated in the agreement between the Concordat Watchdog and the National Treatment Agency on Substance Misuse to work complementarily on specific commissioning issues/areas. NTA programme manager Jez Stannard has written that he is keen to talk about “how we can work together to make best use of the intelligence that is gathered as part of the Concordat Watchdog”.
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IMPLEMENTATION OF THE STRATEGY DEPENDS ON COMMISSIONING
The coalition government set out a clear policy in its Drug Strategy last year to reform the drug treatment system to reduce bureaucracy and prioritise abstinence based recovery to help people overcome substance dependency, rather than continuing to support the maintenance of addiction via treatments such as prescribing methadone. However, implementation of the strategy depends on the commissioning decisions of NHS and Local Authority budget holders around the country, and there are signs that many of them are going against the agreed policy.
Prime Minister David Cameron said this summer that: ‘Drugs policy has been a failure over recent years… We have spent too much time on heroin replacement and methadone rather than on trying to get people clean and clear up all the things in their lives that perhaps cause them to take drugs in the first place’. The Concordat Watchdog’s ambition is to help support exactly that aim.