This report sets out the recent developments in Substance Misuse Treatment Services. It provides an overview of the mobilisation of a new contract and service provider to support Medway residents affected by substance misuse. The report also offers a high-level overview of the collaboration between criminal justice and treatment services to address the wider impacts of substance misuse on society.
Members considered a report which set out the recent developments in substance misuse treatment services. The report also provided an overview of the mobilisation of a new contract and service provider to support Medway residents affected by substance misuse and a high-level overview of the collaboration between criminal justice and treatment services to address the wider impacts of substance misuse on society.
The following issues were discussed:
Digital Services – Members were advised that while some services were available digitally, face to face support was provided where needed. The service also provided outreach work.
Monitoring of goals – the point was made that previous providers had promised a better service and how goals were monitored was queried. The Senior Public Health Manager (Vulnerable Adults) advised that there were quarterly performance review meetings. In addition, the 2021 Drugs Strategy required there to be a Combat Drugs Partnership, which provided additional scrutiny. The Director of Public Health commented that the performance of the service had improved and there was now a mechanism to work across the system.
In terms of how the quality of the service was measured, Members were advised that a holistic, collaborative approach was required. An individual’s needs would be assessed and then a care plan developed. As people had a wide variety of needs, success was measured by how well the client was recovering.
In response to a query about breaking generational cycles of abuse, the answer lay in meeting clients’ needs and the definition of recovery was subjective. The Director of Public Health added that there were various avenues for support. The Council had a good relationship with the NHS on this issue and he felt the Combat Drugs Partnership would start to show the benefits of collaboration. The service was part of a wider system and there was a need to look at the underlying issues why people became addicted and how to provide individual support.
Prisons – noting the widespread availability of drugs in prison, how the service knew whether it was effective in prisons was queried. Members were advised that the Combat Drugs Partnership included the prison and probation services, as well as the police.
Hub premises – Members were advised that the service had found premises in Gillingham and there were also satellites elsewhere in Medway. The previous premises had not been fit for purpose and were unsuitable for effective recovery work.
Extent of substance misuse – it was suggested that testing wastewater could be considered as an effective means of establishing the extent of drug use in Medway.
Continuity of care between custody and community – it was noted that the target of 75% of people accessing treatment in a secure setting being picked up and engaged in community services was not being met. In response to how the self-assessment tool was used, it was clarified that this tool was for commissioners to assess how well the system was performing. More information on the improvement trajectory was available.
Removing blockages – the point was made that many people used drugs as a coping strategy for other issues. What the Council could do to help remove some of these blockages and stop a “revolving door” syndrome was questioned. Members were advised that this issue would be raised with Combating Drugs Partnership.
Shortage of GPs – whether any extra services or specialist nurses were being provided in areas poorly served by GPs was queried. Members were advised a number of specialist nurses and doctors were available. Plus, services in areas where customers lived would be examined and, if needed, bespoke services would be provided. This was a new service and its impact across Medway as whole would be assessed.
Deprivation levels in Medway – in terms of whether the Supplementary Substance Misuse Treatment and Recovery Grant was shared with other providers, Members were advised that there was a separate pot for in patient detox services, but the main part of the grant was given to providers to develop the best services they could.
Transition – in response to a query about how the transition to the new provider looked from the Council’s perspective, the Director of Public Health commented there had been a rigorous process to select the new provider, who had been challenged to deliver outcomes. He considered the new provider would provide a good service, but the challenge was for the system to blend together to support vulnerable people and not just rely on one provider. In addition, adult social care worked very closely with the provider.
The Committee agreed to:
a) note the report.
b) request an update to the March 2024 meeting, including details of the continuity of care between custody and community pick up rate.