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On the eleventh day of Christmas, the cuts took away… a fit for purpose drugs and alcohol service

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We have been contacted by a number of people who have concerns about the level of support available from drug and alcohol services, run by Norfolk Recovery Partnership (NRP) since April 2013. These are the views of “Matt & Tina”, two users of the services provided by NRP:

“We are currently being asked to give feedback about the service we are receiving. Sadly the overwhelming attitude from other service users we spoke to was one of resignation – that whatever services we receive are what we deserve. It’s bad enough to believe that we are locked into a system that has no real answers to our substance / alcohol / mental health problems, but when that service then begins unravel around you, you realise what a mess you’re in… especially when you’ve just begun to take positive steps back towards mainstream society. People are really quite fearful.
Christmas was very difficult for a lot of people. We tried desperately to get help for one particular individual, but phone calls weren’t answered and no one was available. Their key worker has recently departed for pastures new, and what with the Christmas Holidays, they seemed to be just left with no one. People do seem to be falling through the net and becoming really isolated.
Personally, from the interactions we’ve had with those directly providing services, staff are demoralized. Many of those we know quite well have left – and those that remain having been ‘transferred’ to work under the NRP umbrella are shocked at how chaotic it is and are less than happy. It could just be that they’ve all come from different services and it takes time to adjust to change. We think part of the problem is the different model of operation – and clients being transferred to new services and the enforced change of key workers that has caused some of the problems. Those providing the care are doing the best they can under difficult circumstances. But service cuts are most certainly a cause of many of the issues, not only in the Norfolk Recovery Partnership but also in the other mental health services provided by Norfolk & Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust (NSFT) that users of drug and alcohol services access frequently. A drop in the level of support available from community mental health teams has been noticed.”
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7 thoughts on “On the eleventh day of Christmas, the cuts took away… a fit for purpose drugs and alcohol service

  1. katie walker says:

    Whilst I am a supporter of this campaign and acknowledge the impact of the cuts, I think we need to be careful to ensure that information is accurate and representative. Whilst the post on the early intervention service was excellent and evidence based, today’s on Norfolk Recovery Partnership, left me unsure as to the source and validity.

    Reply
    • admin says:

      Katie,

      It is really great to have you commenting here. We’ve been contacted by several people who access the services provided by Norfolk Recovery Partnership. The views expressed in this article are those of two people who directly access NRP services and they broadly reflect the other views of both those with lived experience and staff. I have modified our introduction to make this clearer. I don’t think we can deny them the opportunity to express their views. If you believe that the opinions expressed here are inaccurate or unrepresentative, you can either let us know or tell others what you think on this site.

      Reply
      • katie says:

        Thanks, my post was certainly not intended to suggest that some people shouldn’t have a voice, or that some voices are more important than others. Apologies if that’s how it was received. It just seems important as a campaign to remain representative. Which it sounds from your reply to me that this is. So thanks.

        Reply
  2. Florence says:

    What a sad quote, the feeling that “whatever service we receive is what we deserve”. I’ve been thinking that they (the govt) get away with these enforced changes and cuts to mental health services because of stigma. That’s even more so the case with drug and alcohol services. Thousands march through the streets if they want to shut an A&E. But where are people standing up for our emergency and life saving services? It’s as if some lives are worth more than others.

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  3. Florence says:

    @katie Why should the view of people who access a service be less valid in someway than the things written by staff? In a campaign with lots of people involved, staff and service users supposedly side by side, everyone had to realise different people will form different views of the same thing?

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    • katie says:

      Florence..oh crickey, i certainly don’t think service users views are less valid, they are of course equally important. I wasn’t clear whether the post was from a service user or from someone else about service users experiences. My point was more for this to be a successful campaign, it may be more productive to make statements that are representative and can be evidenced (i’m not for one minute suggesting this isn’t this persons own experience and as such is unimportant).

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      • admin says:

        Katie,

        Perhaps we weren’t clear enough in our introduction? The introduction has been changed to reflect your valid questions. Please comment on the other content and in our forums too. Thanks for the positive feedback about the EI post. Your contributions are greatly valued. If we all work together we will build a successful campaign.

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