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National Treatment Agency to join Public Health Service

Treatment for addiction to drugs will form a core part of the new Public Health Service, the Government announced today, as the Department of Health publishes plans to move the National Treatment Agency for Substance Misuse into the new body by April 2012. 

The NTA will be abolished as a statutory organisation, and its functions will be transferred to the new Public Health Service, which was announced by the Secretary of State for Health on 7 July 2010.

The NTA was set up in 2001 to improve the availability and capacity of treatment for illegal drug use in England, and its priority now is to focus on the challenge of enabling people to make a full recovery from addiction, addressing the entire range of issues they face in their reintegration back into society.

The NTA will be working with the Department of Health and its partners across government on the plans to transfer functions of the NTA to the Public Health Service. 

Paul Hayes, NTA Chief Executive said: 

"Tackling addiction to drugs is a high priority for the Government, and from 2012, we will be doing this within a larger organisation focussed on public health.

"The NTA will shortly be publishing its business plan for the next year with an ambitious programme for change in the treatment of drug addiction, centred on the challenge of enabling people to make a full recovery from addiction."

Message from Baroness Doreen Massey, Chair, National Treatment Agency

The Department of Health has been undertaking a review of arms’ length bodies and it has been announced today, Monday 26 July, that the NTA is going to be transferred into the new Public Health Service by April 2012.

We believe this is a very positive outcome for drug treatment, and something we had been actively engaging with government on over the last few months. It is a reality that stand-alone bodies will become the exception rather than the rule within government, and therefore our priority has been to safeguard the delivery of drug treatment, rather than to secure the continuance of the NTA. The Secretary of State for Health has said that the new Public Health Service will have a ring-fenced budget at national and local level.

We are planning to publish our Business Plan for 2010/11 shortly. The NTA has been charged with an ambitious programme for change to the delivery of treatment over the next year or so, and this will form the NTA’s work plan for the year ahead.

For further information and media interview requests please contact the NTA press office on 020 7972 1922.

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