Charing Cross Hospital
CLAIMS that drug support service funding has been slashed in Hammersmith and Fulham have been strongly denied by the authority in charge of health in the borough.
NHS Hammersmith and Fulham was named by DrugScope, the UKs leading independent experts on drugs and drug use, as an authority which has taken money away from specialist drug treatment.
In a report released last month raising its concerns over cuts, the charity claims 'a number of young people's treatment services have already close in the London boroughs of Hammersmith and Fulham, Newham and Merton'.
Martin Barnes, DrugScope chief executive, said: “The Government's drug strategy emphasises the importance of drug education, prevention and young people's treatment, but the reality in many areas is one of cuts and local disinvestment.
“While it is difficult to get a full national picture of the extent of the cuts, there is no question that local provision in many areas is suffering.
“The importance of early intervention is recognised by the Government, yet the work of local services already delivering high quality interventions and support for young people is currently being dismantled.
“We are extremely concerned at the potential long-term impact of these cuts on young people, their families and communities.”
But the claims have been strongly denied by NHS Hammersmith and Fulham who say they have changed the way they deliver drug support programmes in the borough but have not lost a penny of funding.
A spokesperson for NHS H&F said: “We have not made any cuts in funding of drug treatment and support services to young people.
“A review identified improvements that could be made to encourage young people to seek help for their substance misuse problems and, as a result, increase the level of those accessing the service.
“NHS H&F changed the way the service was being delivered to address this. Substance misuse support is now part of a complete support package offered through the newly formed multi-disciplinary Family Support Locality Teams.
“This development ensures we are responding to all the needs of young people while encouraging them to access support.”