WHO IS RIGHT? MITCH WINEHOUSE OR PAUL HAYES?
Still grieving for his daughter Amy, Mitch Winehouse is today meeting politicians and the media to urge that waiting times for rehab be cut – and Keith Vaz MP has called for a formal review of waiting times.
“But these services (treatment and recovery) are widely available… more than nine out of 10 patients wait less than three weeks for treatment,” claimed an e-blast today publicising a letter by Paul Hayes, CEO of the National Treatment Agency for Substance Misuse, earning a salary similar to the Prime Minister’s.
Who is right?
Answer: Mitch Winehouse. Read on to learn why…
On 30 July, health secretary Andrew Lansley accused NHS managers of risking lives by making patients wait longer for treatment in a “cynical” bid to save money. Hayes and the NTA do not seem to be an exception (click on Facts for details):
Fact 1. Only 2% of problem drug users in the ‘treatment’ system manage to get rehab; for too many, the waiting list means until death…
Fact 2. …or not until you have a stroke, break bones, vomit blood – while in taxpayer-funded (non-rehab) ‘treatment’
Fact 3a, Fact 3b. One of Hayes and the NTA’s core tasks was to reduce death from drugs – but they are far higher now than when the NTA was established, with methadone the second-greatest drug killer
Fact 4. The lack of training to get addicts off drugs long term is exemplified by Dr Richard Watson’s letter in The Times blaming rehabs for deaths such as Amy Winehouse’s – when research shows the deaths he referred to were at the NHS Maudsley run by John Strang, a fact Watson admitted on the PM programme (BBC Radio 4, 26 July 2011)
Facts galore. The Centre for Policy Studies analysed a £3.6billion cost to taxpayers of NTA ‘treatment’ keeping addicts dependent on drugs instead of helping them to quit
WILL THIS CRISIS GET BETTER?
Not if the eight payment-by-results drug-treatment pilots get their unilateral way. They are supposed to be templates for good prctice in treating addiction across the country. But, as we predicted, they have spurned both government and the general public, drafting Outcome Measures which exclude drug-free/abstinence targets. More details will be at www.intervene.org.uk by 2 August.
SO FEW ADDICTS ARE REFERRED TO REHAB THAT THEY COULD CLOSE PERMANENTLY
Because only 2% of people ‘in treatment’ are referred to rehab, the centres themselves – most founded and run by people in recovery – could close, with irrecoverable loss of the highest recovery skills in the country.
In a real rehab revolution, these marginalised recoverers are working together as The Concordat, to increase access to rehabs for those who need it, and to relieve addicts’ families from their distress. Graduates from Concordat rehabs are also banding together to campaign for access to rehabs which saved their lives.
Support the Concordat and Mitch Winehouse’s aim to increase access to lifesaving rehab. Contact Deirdre@intervene.org.uk