A new resource designed to assist commissioners, providers and clinicians in maximising the value that addiction specialist doctors can bring to local recovery orientated treatment systems has been published by Public Health England. The resource was developed by a working group, chaired by Dr Owen Bowden-Jones, and builds on the standards described in Delivering quality care for drug and alcohol users: the roles and competencies of doctors (Royal College of Psychiatrists and Royal College of General Practitioners, 2012).
The resource identifies a number of essential functions which can usually only be carried out by addiction specialist doctors, that are required for a properly balanced, flexible, continually-improving and progressive local alcohol and drug recovery system, which is capable of meeting a full range of need.
Dr Owen Bowden Jones, Consultant Psychiatrist at Central and North West London NHS and chair of the working group that wrote the report said:
"At a time of change and widespread retendering across alcohol and drug treatment and recovery services, the publication of this report is timely. With the increasing shift towards a mixed marketplace, it is vital that the expertise of addiction specialist doctors is retained and developed to achieve the best possible health and recovery outcomes for all."
Dr Linda Harris FRCGP, Medical Director, RCGP Substance Misuse and Associated Health and Chief Executive, Spectrum Community Health CIC said:
"The Royal College of General Practitioners Substance Misuse and Associated Health welcomes the report: 'The role of addiction specialist doctors in recovery orientated treatment systems'
"The document articulates the importance of a balanced treatment system when seeking to maximise recovery outcomes for our patients - where generalist and specialist level competence is equally valued and critical to a safe and clinically effective treatment system. Specialists, be they from a primary or secondary root professional background, provide accredited leadership and supervision that the increasingly complex health and social care environments that addiction practitioners operate in demand. We know this guidance will be well received and become a useful handbook for professional development and systems leadership."
Pete Burkinshaw, Commissioning & Clinical Practice Development Lead (Alcohol, Drugs & Tobacco Division - Public Health England) said:
"There have been substantial changes in the alcohol and drug treatment sector, since April 2013. Changes in commissioning, from primary care trusts to local authority based public health, have led to a much more mixed economy of providers. This report highlights the essential role that addiction specialist doctors have in ensuring that the best possible recovery outcomes are achieved for service users, and the importance of retaining their expertise in the sector."