Laura Sharman 01 May 2018

Alcohol treatment services at ‘crisis point’

Alcohol treatment services at ‘crisis point’ image

Severe funding cuts and a loss of qualified staff have pushed England’s alcohol treatment services to crisis point, a report has warned today.

The report, published by Alcohol Concern, also warned services are due to get worse from 2020 due to the end of ring-fenced public health funding.

The hardest hit: Addressing the crisis in alcohol treatment services found that only 12% of survey respondents felt resources were sufficient in their area. Nearly six out of ten people said certain aspects of services in their area had worsened in the last three years, with community detox and residential rehabilitation facilities particularly affected.

It is estimated that while 595,000 people in England are dependent on alcohol and in need of specialist support, only around 108,000 are receiving treatment for their alcohol dependency.

Dr Richard Piper, CEO of the new charity formed by the merger of Alcohol Concern and Alcohol Research UK, said: ‘Around 595,000 people in the UK are dependent on alcohol. It’s clear that the Government must develop a national alcohol strategy to address the harm they and their families face, and include treatment at its heart to reduce the suffering of the four in every five who currently do not access the services they need.

‘This report shows very clearly what action is needed and we urge policy-makers, practitioners and service providers to join together to implement these recommendations to help the hundreds of thousands of people who are in desperate need of support.’

The report calls on the Government to develop a National Alcohol Strategy and plug the gap in treatment funding.

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