People needing support for drug or alcohol misuse are set to benefit from a new service in Stoke-on-Trent.
The city council has awarded a new contract to North Staffordshire Combined Healthcare NHS Trust – in association with Addaction and BAC O’Connor – for delivery of drug and alcohol services over the next five years (with the option to extend for a further two).
This will give improved long-term support for people in need and will ensure stability, be more consistent and effective, and deliver more value for money.
The partnership will be known as Stoke-on-Trent Community Drug & Alcohol Service (CDAS). Each agency will provide expertise in specific areas to ensure a full range of recovery-focussed services are provided, including advice, information, brief interventions, effective treatment and recovery support.
Councillor Ann James, council leader and cabinet member for health and social care, said: “This is the first time integrated drug and alcohol services have been commissioned in this joined-up way in Stoke-on-Trent.
“These three organisations have been working together to support people with drug and alcohol problems for the last 15 months, since the previous provider went into administration.”
The new model of delivery includes providing a community-based service in venues closer to where people live, and engaging and supporting people using technology such as webchat and social media in addition to more traditional methods.
Service users will have the opportunity to be key partners in their own recovery, as well as advisers on service development and mentors to people earlier in recovery.
Additionally, CDAS will work closely with other organisations in the city that provide support to address problems that impact on drug and alcohol use, such as debt and poor housing, to help people make positive changes and rebuild their lives.
Service user Laura Lloyd, aged 31, from Bentilee, said: “This is brilliant. We are really lucky to get the same people leading the service that has helped us so much over the past few years, and I’m really happy that this is for another five years with the potential for it to be seven.
“I feel that support in the city has really improved over the past couple of years and lots of people have benefitted from the services.”
Forty-year-old Sam Clowes from Shelton added: “Nobody likes change. This gives us great stability for the next five years and I trust the people who have been delivering the service.”
The new service will be in place from January 1, 2019. Those currently receiving support will continue to have the same level of care and should experience a seamless transition into the new service.
Andrew Hughes from North Staffordshire Combined Healthcare NHS Trust said: “As a local provider of services we feel proud and privileged to be serving the people of Stoke-on Trent in delivering such a vital service.
“We are excited to be leading our partners over a five-year period as we will have the opportunity to develop new services and respond to different needs as they emerge. We know how important it is to deliver effective drug and alcohol services and prevent escalation in to other health needs.”
Sharon Wain from Addaction said: “We’re delighted to be part of such a vital partnership in Stoke-on-Trent and we’re looking forward to delivering for the people of our city over the next five years. It's hugely positive to see an integrated drug and alcohol service, and we'll continue to invest in new ways to reach and support people who need our help.”
Kendra Gray from BAC O’Connor said: “We are pleased and proud to have been awarded this tender alongside our valued partners, who we have worked with to establish a strong recovery-focused service for the residents of Stoke-on-Trent over the past 15 months.
“Being awarded a five-year contract will allow us the opportunity to build on the strong foundations we have established and continue to bring improvements in drug and alcohol services for some of the most vulnerable people in our community.”
Andy Meakin, director of VOICES, said: “VOICES has formed close working relationships with Combined Health, Addaction and BAC O’Connor to help some of the most vulnerable people in Stoke-on-Trent to recover from dependence on drugs and alcohol.
“We are extremely pleased that our work will continue following their appointment to deliver the community drug and alcohol service after a recent commissioning exercise. We look forward to maintaining this work and congratulate the partnership on their success.”
Expert Citizens was involved in the procurement process. Chief executive Darren Murinas said: “We’re delighted that Combined Healthcare, in partnership with Addaction and BAC O’Connor, will continue to deliver drug and alcohol community treatment in Stoke-on-Trent. We are excited about working with them to further develop the voice of lived experience in their service delivery. We are also grateful to the commissioning team for inviting us to be part of the process.”
Anyone wishing to contact CDAS should call 01782 283113.
For all media enquiries please contact the Communications Department at Stoke-on-Trent City Council on 01782 232265.