Home > Drug and alcohol treatment and recovery workforce programme.

Office for Health Improvement & Disparities, NHS Health Education England. (2023) Drug and alcohol treatment and recovery workforce programme.

External website: https://www.hee.nhs.uk/our-work/mental-health/drug...

This programme aims to transform the lives of those affected by drug and alcohol misuse by improving the quality and capacity of the drug and alcohol treatment and recovery workforce.

Background - In 2019, Dame Carol Black (DCB) was commissioned by the Home Office and DHSC to undertake a 2-part independent review of drugs to inform the government’s thinking on what more could be done to tackle the harm that drugs cause. 

The second part of the review focused on the drug treatment and recovery system. Its aim was to make sure that vulnerable people with substance misuse problems get the support and treatment they need to recover and turn their lives around. It considered the level of funding required and had a major focus on workforce. The review contains 32 recommendations for change across various government departments and other organisations, to improve the effectiveness of drug prevention and treatment and to help more people recover from dependence. 

The Government invested an additional £80m in drug treatment services in 2021/22. This funding saw the field successfully recruit around 800 additional staff in 9 months. Although the recruitment focused predominantly on drug and alcohol workers and peer workers, this demonstrates that the substance misuse sector can use additional investment to rapidly expand the workforce.

In July 2021, the Government responded to recommendations in part 2 of Dame Carol Black’s review with a 10-year drug strategy: from Harm to Hope and significant new investment, including an additional £532m for drug and alcohol treatment and recovery services from 2022/23 to 2024/25. The new 10-year drug strategy specified that the additional funding should deliver:   

  • 800 more medical, mental health and other professionals   
  • 950 additional drug and alcohol and criminal justice workers 
  • sufficient commissioning and co-ordinator capacity in every local authority (LA)  

 To achieve this, the Government committed to a range of actions to support workforce transformation including: 

  • work to implement a comprehensive strategy to expand the workforce through effective recruitment and retention 
  • work to define and improve the training and skills of all sections of the drug treatment workforce, including
  • registered health professionals, drug and alcohol workers and peer supporters 

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