Our response to the recent reports of COVID-19, alcohol consumption and specialist drug and alcohol treatment funding levels.
Since 2013/14, statutory funding for specialist drug and alcohol treatment services has been steadily declining year on year. Following the pandemic, the Royal College of Psychiatrists has analysed data from Public Health England pointing towards higher risk drinking being up as much as a fifth. Using population estimates from the Office of National Statistics this figure equates to more than 8.4 million people. Dr Adrian James, the president of the Royal College of Psychiatrists is saying the government must commit to a substantial investment to public health, and addiction treatment centres in order to meet this need.
High-risk drinking is classed as drinking over the recommended levels of no more than 14 units of alcohol over a week, which roughly equates to 7 pints of average-strength (4%) lager or 7 glasses of average-strength (12%) wine. Drinking at levels such as this can not only lead to dependency but also result in other health issues such as liver disease, stomach ulcers, pancreatitis and depression. This is being reflected in the numbers of hospital admissions due to alcohol-related issues being up 8% in 2018/19, with nearly 2.3 million people being admitted, up 61% since 2008/9.
At Kenward Trust, a significant proportion of individuals who access our services rely on statutory funding to be able to receive their life-changing support, and so we have definitely felt the impact of this funding being cut year after year. We are incredibly passionate about the work that we do and can see the benefits to those individuals who really want the support. To be able to offer those who want it the opportunity to change their lives and reach their full potential is a privilege we are proud to be able to offer, although, with funding in its current state, it is becoming progressively more challenging to be able to offer the breadth of our complex services.
Despite this, we are continuing to provide our life-changing support year on year and are working on creating services that are as inclusive and accessible as possible to ensure that those individuals who are looking for support can access some. This year alone, we have stayed open throughout the pandemic by introducing a quarantine period upon admission to our residential services to keep our residents and staff safe and launched new exciting services such as our Day Treatment which can be run remotely at this present time but will provide more in-depth support once COVID-19 guidelines allow it and we can run group sessions safely.
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