"Harvey House Detox Unit Closure"

About: Lancashire Care NHS Foundation Trust / Addiction services

(as the patient),

I would like to bring to your attention the current proposals by the Health Ministry / NHS to close one of the few remaining dedicated Alcohol Detox units in the North of the UK.

Harvey House is a unique 16 bed residential Alcohol Detox unit, opened in 1965 and has been providing an irreplaceable service to the community to date. Harvey House provides a service to the whole of the Lancashire NHS Foundation Trust region from Cumbria in the North to Skelmersdale in the South and also the Isle of Man.

The proposed solution to the closure of Harvey House appears to be an adhoc provision of either Community detox or a one stop shop approach mixing the differing needs of alcohol addiction. It is my view that this approach will be more costly and has already proven to be unsuccessful.

Alternative provisions for Alcohol Detox services offered by the Service Commissioner NHS North Lancashire will, I belive, ensure that the service becomes fragmented across the north of the UK, causing significant detriment to the people currently desperate for the treatment and support that they require.

In the current climate of increasing alcohol related illness, disease and deaths (regulary reported in the media) it is, in my view, an absolute travesty Lancashire NHS Foundation Trust are even contemplating axing this vital service.

I would also like to make it known that I have been a recipient of the expert care and support provided by Harvey House, I feel that personally I owe my life and future success directly to the staff and supporters of Harvey House.

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Responses

Response from Patient Opinion

Harvey House is a 16 bedded specialist NHS Tier 4 service accepting referrals/admissions from across Lancashire and Cumbria. This provides medically managed and clinically supervised alcohol detoxification and treatment for people 18 years old and upward with severe alcohol problems and/or poly drug/alcohol dependency. As an inpatient service it provides 24 hour nursing and on-call medical cover.

Unfortunately demand for the service has not been at the levels required to make the unit financially sustainable (typically 8-10 beds used). Attempts to re-negotiate contracts with the PCT’s, were unsuccessful. It is therefore with regret that the Trust Board has had to take the decision to serve notice on the PCTs of its intention to close the unit on 31st December 2010 as we cannot continue to subsidise it.

We are advised that PCTs will be utilising their other service providers to meet the needs of this client group whilst undertaking a procurement exercise due to start in October.

Other service providers include:

• Wentworth House and Kenyon House (also known as Drugs North West) -provided by Greater Manchester West NHS Foundation Trust.

• Windsor Clinic, a Tier 4 alcohol treatment service, managed by Mersey Care NHS Trust, providing to the populations of Merseyside PCTs

• Kevin White Unit, a Tier 4 drug detox inpatient unit for the Liverpool and Mersey area.

There are also a number of non-NHS private providers across Lancashire and Cumbria including The Priory and Gisburne Park.