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Consultation Must Recognise Vital Role of Ward 15 Says McGrath
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DOWN District Councillor Colin McGrath, local SDLP health spokesman, has said a consultation on the future of in-patient addiction services treatment across Northern Ireland must recognise and strengthen the work that Ward 15 at the Downshire delivers.

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Speaking following the announcement of a consultation process on the provision of inpatient treatment across the health servic ein Northern Ireland,  for adults requiring addiction treatment, he expressed his caution.

Councillor McGrath said: “I am always wary when I hear the term ‘consultation on future service provision’ as I now recognise it as code word for a reduction in services.

“However, the work of the Addiction Service at Ward 15 at the Downshire is renowned the country over for its top class and excellent service to patients and it must remain in situ and in fact be developed.

Councillor Colin McGrath is cautious about the inpatients addiction services consultation.

Councillor Colin McGrath is cautious about the inpatients addiction services consultation.

“I hope that this work will be recognised and strengthened as a result of this consultation and that the service will develop and flourish in the future.

“I have written to the consultation team extolling the work of Ward 15 and my wish to see future service delivery on the site for some time to come. I would urge others in the area to do so as well.”

Consultation begins on inpatient based addiction treatment services

A consultation process on the proposed reconfiguration of inpatient services for adults requiring addiction treatment has been launched  by the Health and Social Care Board.

The purpose of the consultation is to consider how specialist in-patient beds, used for the treatment of those with alcohol and substance misuse, could be better organised to improve the services provided throughout Northern Ireland.

Aidan Murray, Assistant Director of Mental Health and Learning Disability, Health and Social Care Board, said: “The Health and Social Care Board has reviewed specialist in-patient treatment provision, known as Tier 4 services, within the health and care sector and overall there are considerable differences between the services that can be accessed within the five Trust areas. Recognising this and acknowledging best practice guidelines, the Board is keen that a more consistent and improved service should be available for all residents in Northern Ireland.”

In addition to proposals to reorganise Tier 4 services, the Health and Social Care Board also plans to strengthen locally based, specialist community services, known as Tier 3 services. This is consistent with the vision set out in the Bamford Review, and confirmed in Transforming Your Care, to strengthen community services and decrease reliance upon in-patient based services.

Dr Stephen Bergin, Consultant in Public Health Medicine, added: “In the majority of cases treatment can be safely undertaken within the community Tier 3 setting, without the need for admission to hospital or a specialist facility. However, our aim is to ensure that, if required, those in need have access to specialist Tier 4 services on a seven days/nights per week basis through a new regional model. The current situation, which restricts people in some areas of Northern Ireland from accessing specialist services or where services are unavailable over weekends, is far from ideal.”

While subject to the outcome of the consultation process, the Health and Social Care Board is currently proposing the future delivery of Tier 4 services at two specialist units which will deliver a new regional service model on a 24/7 basis. In order to establish the new regional model, the likely next step would involve the discontinuation of services at the Southern (St Luke’s, Armagh) and Western Trust (Omagh) addiction treatment units. Thereafter, the residents of all Trust areas will be able to access specialist Tier 4 detoxification and rehabilitation services.

During the consultation period, the Board will seek the views of patients, clients, families, carers and the general public to help inform decisions about these proposals for the future development and delivery of these important services.

This will include a series of public meetings which will be held:

*   Thursday 7 November 2013: Tower Hill, Armagh, BT61 9DR (Board Room) at 6.30pm

*   Monday 11 November 2013: Grosvenor House, 5 Glengall Street, Belfast, BT12 5AD at7.00pm

*   Wednesday 13 November 2013: Tyrone County Hospital, Omagh, BT79 0AP (Doctors Library, PostGrad Centre) at 7.00pm

The closing date for consultation responses is Friday 10 January 2014 at 5.00pm.

Responses or requests for further information or alternative formats should be emailed to:

[email protected]hscni.net

or in writing to:

Tier 4 Consultation, Social Care Directorate, Health and Social Care Board, 12-22 Linenhall Street, Belfast, BT2 8BS

or telephone 028 9032 1313.

To view the consultation document visit www.hscboard.hscni.net/consult.