Funding for a new drug treatment scheme in prisons will be slashed by more than half this year due to NHS deficits, it emerged today.
Paul Hayes, chief executive of NHS drug treatment body the National Treatment Agency, confirmed that £28m pledged for the scheme in 2006-7 would be “scaled back” to just £12m.
He also said “no final decision” had been made over funding for 2007-8, despite the government’s pledge of an additional £40m for the period.
The cuts will affect the integrated drug treatment system, a government scheme that aims to improve the quality of drug treatment due to be rolled out in all prisons by March 2008.
Hayes said: “While disappointed, the NTA understands the wider health savings context in which this funding has been reduced.”
Charity DrugScope raised concerns that the reduced budget would reach just 12 per cent of the prisons estate and the government would have to review its 2008 target for nationwide coverage.