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Agenda item

Drug and Alcohol Recovery Service Update

(i)      Report of the Director of Public Health, Adult and Health Services.

(ii)     Presentation by Jane Sunter, Public Health Strategic Manager, Adult and Health Services and Ted Haughey, Executive Director of Operations North East and North Yorkshire for Humankind.


The Chairman introduced the Public Health Strategic Manager, Jane Sunter and the Executive Director of Operations North East and North Yorkshire for Humankind, Ted Haughey who were in attendance to give an update on the Drug and Alcohol Recovery Service (for copy see file of minutes).


The Public Health Strategic Manager referred Members to the presentation as set out in the agenda papers, explaining that the service and delivery partner had been very busy, with the Drug and Alcohol Service being a priority for Public Health for 2018-20 and that a Public Health Team Review, helping to link the staff across the Council and set out clear roles and include close links to the Public Health Intelligence Team. 


Members were referred to the Public Health Vision and Strategic Plan, and it was highlighted there was a £2.50 return for every £1.00 spent on the issue.  The Public Health Strategic Manager noted she chaired that Drug and Alcohol Harm Reduction Group at the SDP.


The Committee noted the strategic approach taken and were given an example of the “Taylor Family” showing them in 2018 and 2020 to demonstrate the potential benefits including wider incentives such as the opportunities for employment and training.


The Public Health Strategic Manager reminded Members of the journey to date, for the Service, moving from the previous provider, Lifeline, through to DISC, now known as Humankind, in partnership with Spectrum Community Health CIC for clinical services and The Basement Project.  She reminded Members of the £1.3 million removed from the service and therefore a need to move to a more modern approach.  Councillors noted that integration was a key element, becoming outward focused and to work more in partnership to deliver against common goals.  She added that improved pathways, family focus, outreach support and the reinvigoration of the prevention agenda were also important.  Councillors noted the new operating model and the operational and outreach facilities available and the improved pathway relating to: criminal justice; primary care; mental health; and children, young people and families.


The Public Health Strategic Manager referred Members to the numbers in treatment, successful completions and noted that numbers in treatment had increased, and performance had improved.  It was noted the opiate completion target had been exceeded and though performance was below national levels.  The Public Health Strategic Manager noted the representation statistics, noting she felt that in many cases it was a positive if someone came back to the service for help and that there was always an open door and a willingness to re-engage.  Members noted the year to date completion and performance against targets and national levels and strong performance and improvements being made.


The Public Health Strategic Manager concluded by noting the next steps including: review of the outcome of the CGC inspection; completion of the estates implementation; continued service improvement pathways; the annual service use questionnaire; a review of the Health Needs Assessment for long term opiate clients and Options Appraisal; to conduct a Health Equity Audit; and to review the service in September 2019.


The Chairman thanked the Public Health Strategic Manager and Executive Director and asked Members for their comments and questions.


Councillor A Bainbridge noted the excellent work of a number of community groups and asked if the Officers were aware of the work of Changing Lives in the Chester-le-Street area.  The Public Health Strategic Manager noted she was aware, with very good working relationships with them and a number of such organisations.


Councillor G Darkes asked if there was any trends in terms of age or gender and reasons why people misused drug and alcohol in order to try to prevent such misuse.  The Public Health Strategic Manager noted that she could look to have a breakdown, but noted that the spilt of 70 percent male to 30 percent female reflected national figures and noted there were a wide range of issues behind why people misused alcohol and drugs. 


She noted mental health issues could be a factor, as could social circumstance, finance and employment, and that the Drug and Alcohol service was one element of the work Public Health undertook in order to tackle social and health inequality.  The Executive Director noted that they did analyse the demographics of service users and if there was a shift in gender split then the service would look to flex to meet the needs of the County.


The Chairman asked what buy-in was there from the relevant partner agencies and was it uniform across the County.  The Executive Director noted good buy-in, with some more so than others, and that Humankind, as formerly DISC, had established good relationships with many organisation in the region, for example TEWV.


The Chairman asked as regards links to the Police, Crime and Victims’ Commissioner.  The Public Health Strategic Manager noted there were strong links, working on the criminal justice element of the Health Needs Assessment. 


Councillor J Charlton asked if there was regular referrals from GPs and asked if this was uniform across the County.  The Executive Director noted there was more work to do in getting the message out as regards the service, and that building upon the strong work in reshaping the service the next step was to promote, with the local experience of the company and work in North Yorkshire being valuable in this regard. 


Councillor K Thompson asked how Local Councillors could get involved in helping to facilitate and signpost.  The Public Health Strategic Manager explained that by raising awareness of the service and promoting the contact telephone of 03000 266 666.  She reminded Members that there was an open door and those asking for support would be seen straight away.


Councillor A Patterson asked how the demand was met, in terms of the geography of the County, our rural west for example where transport links could be poor.  The Executive Director noted there was some additional properties and the service would flex and it was noted in the specification as regards need and analyse numbers and demand would shape delivery, noting work undertaken at Barnard Castle.  It was added that information in terms of the additional community venues being used could be circulated to Members for information.


Councillor R Crute noted the current situation in terms of funding cuts of around £18-19 million to Public Health and the “Fair Funding” to be determined and asked if there was a “Plan B”.  The Public Health Strategic Manager explained that the service was constantly reviewed and reiterated that the Drug and Alcohol Service had been identified as a key priority and links in terms mental health, funding, training and employment were established.


The Chairman asked as regards the number of successful completions and the annual target and number achieved so far.  The Public Health Strategic Manager noted the baseline had been from previous years and that as the new service was being put in place the targets were carried forward to allow a period to settle.  She added that from 2019/20 these targets would be looked at.  The Executive Director added that there were monthly performance meetings and trackers built into individuals’ and centres’ performance.  The Public Health Strategic Manager noted the number of clients in the service (latest figure 2,912 at November 2018).




That the report and presentation be noted.


Supporting documents:


Democratic Services
Durham County Council
County Hall
County Durham
03000 269 714