‘Addiction services must be seamless’ says Chief Medical Officer Dr. Michael McBride after report highlights lack of Derry detox

The Chief Medical Officer Dr. Michael McBride has said there needs to be ‘seamless integration between residential and inpatient services’ for people with addiction issues.

Tuesday, 16th November 2021, 1:31 pm
Dr. Michael McBride

He was speaking while briefing the Stormont Public Accounts Committee (PAC) on an Audit Office report that flagged a lack of detoxification facilities in the Western Trust.

The report published last year recommended a review of Tier 4a detoxification and stabilisation beds - residential treatment for complex cases - to assess whether the number of beds across the board was sufficient.

It pointed out that ‘detoxification and stabilisation services were available to residents from the Northern, South Eastern and Southern Trust areas, but there was no access in the Belfast or Western Trust’.

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Dr. McBride said this has since been remedied.

“There are now 33 [Tier 4a] beds across the system, and all trusts have access to those beds. That was previously not the case, and I think that that is what you may have been referring to.

“They are now provided in the South Eastern, Western and Northern Trust areas, but all trusts have access to those beds as part of the four tiers of service,” he said.

Dr. McBride went on to acknowledge that addiction services need to be seamless for patients and their families.

“As you will know, we provide residential addiction services in Northlands in Derry/ Londonderry and Carlisle House.

“However, the report rightly highlighted that residential services were not agreed and there is a need for a seamless integration between the residential and inpatient services and right the way through from low-threshold services to tier 2, 3 and 4 services.

“There should be no bumpiness in that...those care pathways need to be absolutely clear, and service users, families and communities need to know what we are referring to when we talk about those services,” said the senior public health doctor.