Three-year wait for more NHS money

Alcohol treatment services will have to wait until at least 2008
for NHS funding, a conference on alcohol misuse was told.

NHS funding had been accounted for until the next spending review
in 2008, said Annette Dale-Perera, director of quality at the
National Treatment Agency for Substance Misuse (NTA) at a
conference organised by Alcohol Concern. In the meantime, any
investment would be small, she said.

The sector now had three years to draw up a case for more funding,
she added.

Delegates were disappointed that the government’s alcohol strategy
focused on antisocial behaviour and failed to include funding or
targets for treatment.

Bob Purser, director of the drink misuse charity Aquarius, said his
organisation received between 38p and £1.80 a client a year
from primary care trusts.

Service managers said they were already being told to introduce
waiting lists for clients with alcohol problems in order to focus
on drug treatment targets.

The NTA is publishing a draft paper in December, which will
resemble a national service framework but without its status.

Next year there will also be pilots of brief interventions and
screening for mild alcohol misuse in GP surgeries, and an audit of
alcohol services.

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