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Concern after inspectors say drug and alcohol service in Norfolk is not good enough

PUBLISHED: 11:09 10 October 2019 | UPDATED: 11:45 10 October 2019

Drugs and drug-taking equipment. Pic: Paul Faith/PA Wire

Drugs and drug-taking equipment. Pic: Paul Faith/PA Wire

Watchdogs have said a crucial service which provides drug and alcohol treatment to people in Norfolk is not good enough.

Bill Borrett, Norfolk county council cabinet member for adult social care, public health and prevention. Pic: Norfolk Conservatives.Bill Borrett, Norfolk county council cabinet member for adult social care, public health and prevention. Pic: Norfolk Conservatives.

The critical report comes at a time when Norwich has the second highest number of deaths due to drug poisoning in the country.

Norfolk County Council commissions charity Change Grow Live (CGL) to provide treatment and support for adults with drug or alcohol issues.

But the Care Quality Commission's latest inspection has deemed that the substance misuse service, which has its main bases and hubs in Norwich, Great Yarmouth, King's Lynn and Thetford, must improve.

Concerns were raised about out-of-date risk assessments, a lack of detail in care plans, no safeguarding log and that some staff lacked basic life support skills.

Labour Norfolk county councillor Emma Corlett. Pic: Archant.Labour Norfolk county councillor Emma Corlett. Pic: Archant.

The overall rating, and the individual ratings for safety and effectiveness were requires improvement, although it was rate good for being caring, responsive and well-led.

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Ed Shorter, director of CGL, said: "Findings within the report have been incorporated into plans for the Norfolk service, demonstrating a shared recognition and understanding of where the service needs to continue to develop.

"We were pleased to be rated good for being a caring, responsive and well-led service and that our clients reported receiving 'positive support' from 'caring' and 'welcoming' staff who are 'always available'.

"We will strive to continue strengthening those areas requiring improvement, including our processes for reviewing risk assessments and logging safeguarding referrals."

Government figures showed 80 people have died from drug misuse in Norwich in the past three years.

Emma Corlett, Labour county councillor, said it was concerning that the council-commissioned service had been rated as needing to improve.

At a recent council meeting, she asked Bill Borrett, cabinet member for adult social care, public health and prevention, what steps were being taken to ensure the safety of drug users and to ensure staff had manageable caseloads.

Conservative Mr Borrett said he recognised the issues flagged by the report and said the council would be working with CGL to ensure improvements.

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