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Opiate users getting older and increase in use of spice prompts change in provider of drug and alcohol services in Norfolk and Waveney

PUBLISHED: 17:38 13 July 2017 | UPDATED: 18:16 13 July 2017

Close up of person cooking heroin. Photo: Getty Images/iStockphoto

Close up of person cooking heroin. Photo: Getty Images/iStockphoto

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The provider of drug and alcohol services in Norfolk is set to change, as priorities shift in how to approach misuse.

Dr Louise Smith, Norfolk County Council's director for Public Health.
Picture: ANTONY KELLY Dr Louise Smith, Norfolk County Council's director for Public Health. Picture: ANTONY KELLY

Norfolk Recovery Partnership (NRP) was awarded the five-year contract to provide the service for adults affected by drugs and alcohol in 2013.

The NRP brought together Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust (NSFT), charity The Matthew Project and the Rehabilitation for Addicted Prisoners’ Trust (RAPt).

But the service will change from April next year - and while the contract has not yet been awarded, NRP is not on the shortlist.

Director of public health at Norfolk County Council, Dr Louise Smith, said: “This is not a judgement on the work of the staff who we value and who we continue to work well with. This is a tender process looking at a new model of service. We want to change the service to bring together different elements such as detox and rehabilitation with the main treatment service. Clients’ needs are changing with opiate users getting older and developing long term conditions such as heart disease, younger clients are more likely to use new drugs such as spice. The service needs to change with these changing needs. Also we want to develop ways to increase our offer to help people get their life back – helping with issues such as housing, being a parent and a family, and having a job.”

Chief executive of Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust (NSFT) Michael Scott. Photo: NSFT Chief executive of Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust (NSFT) Michael Scott. Photo: NSFT

Michael Scott, NSFT chief executive said: “We are increasingly seeing substance and addiction services being moved out of NHS provision across the country, and we trust the excellent care and service our staff have developed over many years, will not be compromised now this is likely to be the case in Norfolk.

“We remain extremely proud of the support and care NRP has offered thousands of local people with substance abuse and addiction problems, many of whom have described support as life-saving and -changing. And this outcome in no way reflects upon the commitment and hard work of staff who have been delivering the NRP service for a number of years across Norfolk and Waveney. That team will maintain a high quality service until the contract transfers, and collaborating with the successful bidder to ensure a smooth transition in the interest of service users.”

A new provider will be selected in October.

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