MENDACIOUS OR JUST STRAIGHT FOOLISH
HOW THE NTA IS AVOIDING TREATMENT TRUTHS
“A man may take to drink because he feels himself to be a failure and then fail all the more completely because he drinks. It is rather the same thing that is happening to the English language. It becomes ugly and inaccurate because our thoughts are foolish, but the slovenliness of our language makes it easier for us to have foolish thoughts.”
George Orwell, Politics and the English Language, 1946
It is rather the same thing too that is happening to the National Treatment Agency for Substance Misuse. Last week, like Orwell’s drunken man, their CEO, Paul Hayes, began to dig his grave. His effort on the BBC’s Today programme to justify the unjustifiable and to deny the undeniable – why only 3.6% of the 200,000 going through his treatment system are cured each year – was described by Melanie Reid the next day as ‘jobs worth personified, complacent and patronising’. However the NTA’s new ‘guidance’, released last week, for commissioning ‘Tier 4 Services’ – residential or quasi residential rehabilitation and detox to you and me – took the NTA’s brand of foolishness to even new heights….
. .. This mixture of vagueness and sheer incompetence makes the writers of this guidance, who we are all paying for, appear indifferent as to whether the words mean anything or not. Just as Orwell noted, each time a topic is raised the concrete disappears into the abstract and the only turns of speech used are those that are hackneyed. Whether simply foolish or complacently mendacious it is difficult to tell. They are equally damaging.
As guidance for those purchasing treatment for the likes of Andrew it stinks. Despite an impressive group to advise, the NTA has produced what they excel in – a Kafka-esque elevation of best practice jargon and bureaucratise masking a lack of commitment to getting clients drug free. In page upon page of soul destroying advice it does not once tell the poor commissioner how to pay for the last rehab beds should he be lucky enough to find them.
As a programme for action it is as empty as the beds in the closed down rehabs."
Read the full version of Kathy Gyngell’s blog here.