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Good care, but inconsistent access to substance misuse services across Wales – say Inspectorates

Healthcare Inspectorate Wales (HIW) and Care Inspectorate Wales (CIW) have today published a joint report following their recent review of substance misuse services in Wales.

Overall, HIW and CIW found people receive good care from passionate and caring staff, but access to services is limited in rural areas and generally inconsistent across Wales. Specifically, people found it difficult to get the treatment they needed from substitute prescribing (e.g. methadone), detox, rehab and counselling services, because of long waits and a lack of capacity in services.

The review also identified weaknesses in oversight and regulation around the quality and safety of services. As such, Area Planning Boards may not be able to quickly identify, monitor and act on emerging themes and issues across all services in order to protect people’s safety. Welsh Government and Area Planning Boards need to reconsider the way they seek assurance about performance of services.

Disappointingly, although some progress has been made, many of the issues identified in this report are similar to those HIW identified in its previous substance misuse report in 2012. 

HIW and CIW have made 34 recommendations for Area Planning Boards and/or Welsh Government to consider. 

Chief Executive, Dr Kate Chamberlain said:

Our report recognises the hard work and commitment of staff working within substance misuse services in Wales. Whilst it is positive that patients had good experiences of care within services, they cannot always get the right type of treatment they need in a timely way. It is disappointing that many of the issues we identified in our review in 2012 remain the same. Whilst some progress has been made, this has not been consistent either within regions, or across Wales. Effective joint working across services is needed to address a number of longstanding issues affecting the support for people with substance misuse issues.

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