Treatment of alcohol and drug misuse in West Sussex set to be transformed

Between 700/800 people in West Sussex needing help with alcohol misuse are currently using a service provided by the county council PA Photo/Generic ENGNNL00120120103120631
Between 700/800 people in West Sussex needing help with alcohol misuse are currently using a service provided by the county council PA Photo/Generic ENGNNL00120120103120631

Treatment of alcohol and drug misuse in West Sussex is set to become a more ‘mainstream’ and accessible service.

West Sussex County Council is looking for a new provider to run the £5.3m-a-year contract, which would see more of a focus on health, wellbeing and recovery.

The current service is supporting around 1,000 drug users and between 700 and 800 alcohol-dependent users, with higher caseloads in Worthing and Crawley compared to the rest of the county.

Christine Field (Con, Lindfield and High Weald), WSCC’s cabinet member for community wellbeing, said: “We want to switch to a much more mainstream type of service that will play into the objectives that the council is seeking to move towards in the next five years.”

Members of the county council’s Environmental and Community Services Select Committee were given a presentation on the proposed new service and asked to approve the open tender procurement process on Wednesday June 10 at Chichester’s County Hall.

Holly Yandall, public health lead for substance misuse, said they wanted to move away from just treatment towards community-based recovery, and an emphasis on the role family can play in this.

Officers said they hoped the focus on improving physical and mental health of the people using the service would lead to greater education, training, volunteering, and employment opportunities.

The new service would have the flexibility to better meet the needs of moderate and lower level drinkers who could benefit, with officers saying the potential demand for the service ‘couldn’t be underestimated’.

The current two-year contract with CRI will run up to May 2016 and was signed to improve clinical quality and effectiveness of the service and allow for time for a redesign.

A new provider would then take over and run the service for five years with an option to extend it for a further two.

According to a county council report the redesign is needed to comply with developments in research, policy, and changes in drug and alcohol use, to better help people with both mental health and alcohol or other drug use issues, to make services more accessible, and to support those affected by a broader range of substances.

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