Residential treatment: making things better

December 10, 2020
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There’s a bit of attention being given to residential rehabilitation in Scotland at the moment – something that’s good to see. A working group that I was part of has made recommendations to the Scottish Government which have been broadly welcomed. It’s good to hear that the Public Health Minister, Joe Fitzpatrick, has pledged £90,000 to support implementation.

So, what are the principles the working group developed as a result of the work we undertook? There are nine of them.

  1. There should be access to residential treatment on an equitable basis across Scotland.
  2. There should be a clear understanding of need, demand and capacity.
  3. Funding models for residential treatment need to ensure value for money.
  4. A standardised approach to support good practice should be developed.
  5. Referral pathways should be clear, consistent and easy to navigate.
  6. The approach to providing residential treatment should be underpinned by the evidence.
  7. The diversity of models needs to be understood.
  8. The work of improving access to residential treatment should support the work of the Drugs Deaths Task Force.
  9. Outcomes from residential treatment should be measured, published and monitored.

The reason for each of these statements relates to us either finding evidence of a problem or a gap in our knowledge. We did find much to celebrate too, but it’s developing the areas which need attention that will make things better.

Under each of these principles are specific recommendations which I’ll come back to. For now, it’s clear that we’ve got a bit of work to do, but I’m glad to say that there is a willingness to get it done. A bit of momentum is building which I hope will lead to a better understanding and acceptance of the value of residential rehabilitation and which will make it much more accessible to those who would benefit from it.

A summary of the report can be found here.

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