Edinburgh ponders single assessment

A single assessment process for Edinburgh drug and alcohol service
users could be introduced next year if agencies back it.

Tom Wood, chair of the city’s drug action team, said a single
process would be the only way to realise “a strategic grip on
service delivery” and pull together the various agencies that work
with substance misusers.

He hoped such a system could be introduced by April 2006 following
a service review later this year.

Wood said it was sometimes the case that people would receive help
from up to seven agencies, all of which would not know about each

He said: “We still don’t know how many people are in the system and
how much is being spent on them.

“No one can tell you what percentage of police or health budgets
are spent on alcohol or drug issues.”

He said the technology to link agencies was already there, adding:
“All that is needed is the commitment and to overcome information
sharing issues.”

Edinburgh children and families and substance misuse social workers
have started working to new guidance that requires improved
communication between them.

It was introduced as a result of the death of 11-week-old Caleb
Ness in 2001 in the city at the hands of his drug-abusing father,
who had been known to both departments.

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