It’s a travesty of modern day Britain that this morning I learnt of another residential treatment provider closing its doors, this time in the North West.


It sickens and saddens me that as austerity really starts to bite its our most disadvantaged, stigmatised and vulnerable members of the community that are losing out.  Not only that, there’ll be 20-50 really experienced and dedicated members of staff who are now looking for work and unlikely to be employed in the sector locally again.

To make my day even worse I then received our local Conservative freebie newspaper delivered through our door, and there on the front page was a picture of Western Counselling, Lighthouse, John Penrose ( local MP) and Ann Milton – former Minister for Health when she visited us last December (2011).  It was a piece about cleaning up Weston super Mare and closing rehabs!!

The paper stated that bed numbers for rehab had dropped from 500 to 250 in the area, “dodgy” rehabs had closed and the ones left were now registered with CQC – Care Quality Commission.  EXCUSE ME… there are nowhere near 250 rehab beds in North Somerset. Rehab denotes treatment – only if you include supported accommodation/dry house beds will you get anywhere near 250.  Again, language is being used by our politicians and media to cloud the truth.  The only remaining rehabs in the area have always been registered with regulatory bodies under the Care Standards Act.  They are, and do, conform to CQC standards and maintain high standards of care and support for their clients.

Supported accommodation, otherwise known as “Dry” Houses or 3rd Stage treatment are not Rehab.  They do not deliver treatment.  They are a supportive environment to aid ongoing recovery.

So I have to ask, why does our venerable MP consider it wonderful that bed spaces for abstinence based treatment have been reduced when it is his Government that have pushed forward the Recovery Agenda, and abstinence in particular?  Why is it so great that so many skills and experience that are so vitally important to engaging addicts in treatment are now sitting on the dole queue or wasting their talents whiling away the hours stacking shelves in our local supermarkets?  Weston super Mare is an area of excellence for addiction treatment yet our local government and MP are dancing on the graves of services that are no longer available to provide those vital treatments to our addicts and alcoholics.

The UK’s residential treatment providers are a vital resource in the provision of abstinence based recovery programmes for addiction, and yet we are not supported to continue this vital provision of services.  Its a stark warning…. support us, use us or lose us!!