Bassetlaw MP John Mann and Notts County Council have clashed over changes to medical services for drug addicts in Notts.
Following a three month consultation, the council’s public health committee decided to move substance misuse services away from local GPs and entrust them with a non-profit charity called the Crime Reduction Initiative.
The council say this will ensure ‘evidence-based and consistent services’ are put in place, resulting in fewer people requiring treatment and support for drugs and alcohol issues.
But John Mann has slammed the proposals, claiming the council is privatising the system and has ignored public responses to the consultation.
He said: “Since they started running drug misuse services a decade ago, Bassetlaw Hospital has seen a dramatic fall in drug addict admissions and have saved £500,000 a year by doing so.”
“I predict that we will now we will see our A&E full of drug addicts no longer getting access to treatment and crime will also inevitably increase.”
“I trust local doctors and health professionals to run the NHS and this privatisation, like others, will be a total disaster.”
Notts County Council have insisted the service is not being privatised, as users will not have to pay for treatment.
Coun Joyce Bosnjak, chair of the public health committee, said: “We are looking at a new and innovative way of doing things better, and central to that is the principle of recovery over treatment.
“Fundamentally rather than wanting to ‘manage’ people with substance misuse issues through treatment like methadone, we are committed to a principle of helping them find a sustained recovery from dependency by offering treatment, but also focusing on other holistic factors that will help in that journey to recovery like mental wellbeing, education, housing and employment.”
“Under our new approach the focus is not just on clinical treatment, but also will see providers physically going out into communities and engaging with people that need support. A more flexible model will mean providers will operate 24 hours a day, seven days a week, offering support in any number of community environments, rather than necessarily having to wait for them to come into clinical settings.”
“I am very pleased that we will now have a situation where residents will be able to access better, results focused services for substance misuse, operated by innovative organisations with a track record of delivering results.”
The new services are expected to be in place by October 2014.