Council accused of ‘not providing care’ for addicts

Brian Dudley outside Broadway Lodge

Brian Dudley outside Broadway Lodge - Credit: Archant

The chief executive of a Weston-super-Mare drug and alcohol treatment centre says the council is ‘not providing care’ for people struggling with addictions.

Broadway Lodge is one of the country’s leading treatment centres for addiction and its chief executive thinks the council’s approach to treating addicts – by treating them in the community rather than in a residential recovery centre – is not working.

Brian Dudley says he has been approached by people who are struggling to get residential treatment because the council refuses to provide it.

He said: “North Somerset Council is trying to put all their money into the community-based provision, but the number of successful outcomes is still falling drastically.

“We have gone from being a town which is known for having an excellent recovery field to a place we don’t want it to be.

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“I know there have been cuts but I think the council is looking for the cheap options rather than the long term solution.”

But the council says that although there has been some decline in the number of successful completions, this is because more people are staying in treatment for longer.

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A spokesman said: “It would be unfair to view the measure of successful completions in isolation from the numerous additional performance measures applied to substance misuse treatment as it does not give a full and robust picture of the outcomes being achieved.

“Alongside successful completions consideration must be given to measures such as, the number of people coming back to treatment and how people have improved their quality of life.”

The council also says the community-based approach to addiction recovery is actually ‘exceeding expectations’ in some areas.

But Mr Dudley believes fewer people stick to their recovery long-term with the community approach.

He said: “The council is narrow-minded because it is costing everyone big time.

“At the end of the day the figures speak for themselves. With fewer successful treatments there are more people locally who have issues which need treating.

“The council is not providing care for local people, which it should be.”

Mr Dudley says the council is also refusing to work with Broadway Lodge to improve its own facilities to offer more residential spaces in Weston.

Broadway Lodge was given planning permission by the council to build a new detoxification centre.

Broadway applied for funding from Public Health England to build the centre, but it needed to be signed off by the council – which refused.

So Broadway now has to find £400,000 to build it.

Mr Dudley said: “The crazy thing is the council gave us planning permission to build the detox centre and PHE would have given us the funding. It would have been a much better facility, it would’ve helped people with mental health issues – it really would have been something special for North Somerset.

“They just had to sign a piece of paper but they wouldn’t do it.

“All we want to do it to save lives. People are ending up in the hospital instead where it costs £400 a day to detox someone and ends up costing the taxpayer.”

The council spokesman said: “The council conducts a rigorous process of assessing partnership bidding opportunities. This process ensures that any partnership bids that are supported by the council are aligned with council priorities and local need. It must be noted that the council does not assess all bidding opportunities as being appropriate.”

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