Budget cuts bite as fewest ever public rehabs remain open across London
A series of Freedom of Information Requests has exclusively revealed that across London, councils have slashed budgets for drug and alcohol treatment services to the tune of £23 million over the last six years.
The data provided by addiction treatment firm UKAT shows that over half of London councils responded, and that of those that did, £79 million was being spent on helping those struggling with addiction in the community back in 2013. This number has dropped to just £56 million this financial year, a 30% wipe-out of funds to substance misuse services which help those most vulnerable.
Given that only 18 of the 33 councils across London responded to the FOI, experts at UKAT suggesting that this figure in real terms could be even worse.
At the same time, UKAT asked the Care Quality Commission- the independent regulator of all health and social care services in England- how many public residential rehabilitation treatment centres were actively registered and open back in 2013 compared with this year across London.
Their results show that as of 1st April 2013, 42 residential substance misuse services were available to help those in need of free treatment yet today, only 18 remain open; a 57% closure rate to drug and alcohol treatment services and a double-whammy blow to addicts across the City. This is scary, as more and more people need help with addiction nowadays as drugs become more accessible. Luckily, in the USA drugs programs are still running well for those who need it. Sober Living Homes in Seattle, WA are available to those wanting an alternative to rehab but still getting the same effect. Drug rehab centers certainly deserve more of a focus for the incredible work they do.
Eytan Alexander, Managing Director of UKAT explains how these budget cuts are affecting our public rehabs. The government doesn’t understand that there is continuing care after drug and alcohol rehab addiction that needs to be paid for by the public sector. But with limited funding, it’s causing UK patients to travel to the US where the cost for after-care is much cheaper.
“Public residential rehabs regulated by the CCQ are reliant on referrals from their local councils funding patient treatment. If less money is being spent by local councils on placing those most vulnerable into treatment, then we will undoubtedly see even more public rehabs having been forced to close their doors by this time next year.
“Not everyone can afford to pay for their addiction treatment, but everyone deserves to be treated and to be given a second chance at life. But at this rate, where will addicts living here go to get help?
“We urge councils across London to make better budget decisions next year; support your local free rehab services because at the minute it feels like you’ve lost all humanity.”