[To consider a report in relation to the proposed engagement and consultation plan for the re-commissioning of Substance Misuse Services in Wolverhampton.]
The Panel received a report setting out the engagement and consultation plans to inform the re-commissioning of the city’s substance misuse system (including primary care, the voluntary sector, specialist and acute services) by the Public Health and Wellbeing team. The report provided members with an opportunity to inform the process prior to commencing the engagement and consultation period in late March.
The key requirements of the new system would be to deliver a safe and effective service to all Wolverhampton residents and would incorporate the core treatment functions plus the prescribing function, supervised consumption, needle exchange service, community and residential detox and rehabilitation, aspects of dual diagnosis client pathways and drug testing.
A Substance Misuse Commissioning Steering Group has been established with representation from the Public Health and Wellbeing team, the CCG, Local Authority commissioners and other key teams e.g. Children’s Services and Housing services, Royal Wolverhampton NHS Trust, West Midlands Police, Healthwatch and Public Health England. This group had now met twice and would be responsible for overseeing the engagement and consultation process as well as the development of the re-commissioning process.
Based on significant changes in drug trends over the last five years and with the emerging evidence of prescribed/over the counter medication, the acknowledgement of alcohol related harm as well as awareness regarding New Psychoactive Substances (NPS formerly known as legal highs), there was a need to commission services which sought to continually innovate, meet emerging needs and that were flexible to the changing landscape.
The Panel queried whether the Council was happy with its current providers including Recovery Near You and questioned the size of the market place for such services. The question was also raised as to what services were on offer to children who had alcoholic parents. Officers stated that there had been a huge change from the medical model to a recovery focused model which had been difficult to embed given the tough nature of the work involved. However the QCQ had highlighted some exemplary practices and that the Recovery Near You service was performing very well given the large number of people presenting with addictions in the area. Officers also stated that there were a few good providers in the market place and that there had previously been a high response to the tendering process. The question was raised as to whether the tender could include a requirement for service providers to look to address underlying issues about why people were turning to substance misuse and to try to identify any triggers. Officers agreed that this was possible and that a family oriented, holistic approach was required.
The Panel queried the scale of addiction in Wolverhampton and it was estimated that around 40,000 people had problems with alcohol and that there was an issue with it becoming normalised and therefore not being addressed at the primary care level. It was thought that work needed to be done to address this low lying drinking and engage with GPs without appearing to be interfering overtly in people’s lifestyle choices. The Director for Public Health stated that she had responded to a letter from Liam Byrne in relation to children of alcoholics and that the Council was adopting a whole family approach and working in partnership with Adult and Children Services.
Resolved: 1. That the Panel note the background information and commissioning plans for Substance Misuse services
2. Endorse the proposed engagement and consultation process, subject to any comments listed above.