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Agenda item

Substance Misuse Review Implementation Update

Members will receive the above report which provides their first update on the implementation of the approved recommendations arising from the Substance Misuse Scrutiny Review at Annex 1 completed by the former Health, Housing and Adult Social Care Policy and Scrutiny Committee (HHASC), during the previous administration.

Minutes:

Members received the report which provided their first update on the implementation of the approved recommendations arising from the Substance Misuse Scrutiny Review at Annex 1 completed by the former Health, Housing and Adult Social Care Policy and Scrutiny Committee (HHASC), during the previous administration.

Fiona Phillips, Assistant Director Public Health and Leigh Bell, Advanced Practitioner in Public Health, were in attendance to present the report and to respond to questions.

 

Cllr Pavlovic who had been chair of the Substance Misuse Scrutiny Task Group participated in the discussion of this item.

 

The following information was provided in response to questions from committee members:

 

In relation to funding of the substance misuse service, financial reductions had been made to the service during 2018 – 20, £330k had been taken from the service and about £75k before that.  £200k had been put back into the service a payment for this financial year only, there remained a shortfall of approximately £130k.  Officers explained that when this service had been recommissioned, the first year had been about working with the provider to consider where savings and efficiencies could be made, in line with a reduction in public health budgets nationally.  The reduction in funding had impacted on the level of service provided therefore £200k had been allocated to the service to bring it to the standard it had previously been.

 

Members considered that budgetary reductions to the service had resulted in the loss of key staff.  The later allocation of £100k then another £100k which was non-recurrent funding had meant that the service was not in a position to re-appoint staff, raise expectation or be innovative.  The additional funding therefore could not bring the service to the standard it had previously been.  Members considered that Public Health needed to make a decision on funding so that the service could plan its provision rather than exist ‘hand-to-mouth’, which was not in the interest of the service, the administration or the client group. 

 

Members discussed each of the 5 recommendations in turn, which had been made by the Substance Misuse Scrutiny Review and supported at Executive in March, to consider the progress against each recommendation.

 

Members considered that recommendation 1 had not been met and that budgetary reductions had led to a year of a truncated service.  The committee requested that a risk assessment of the impact that financial cuts have had on treatment and waiting times be undertaken in order to accurately evaluate these concerns.

 

On recommendation 2: regarding future proposals for changes to the funding available…should be accompanied by clear risk and impact assessments.  Members considered that those assessments should consider how funding reductions impact upon other services.  Such as hospitals, police, primary care.  Officers responded that it could take a year to measure the impact on other services.

 

On recommendation 3: Under the heading ‘Implementation September 2019’ comment members requested that the word ‘considering’ be replaced with the word ’identifying’.  It was agreed that the report of the Joint Strategic Needs Assessment steering group which would identify the resources required within CYC and partner organisations to undertake alcohol service provision  would be received at this committee.  Officers reported that this scoping exercise of identifying resources would probably be completed by February 2020. 

 

Recommendation 4 and 5: Members considered that whilst the intention behind these updates were commendable they were concerned that there was a lack of urgency in addressing this health crisis.  Alcohol abuse is one of the biggest health concerns in York that has a huge impact on families and society.

 

It was agreed that officers would share our concerns with the executive bearing in mind deadlines for budgetary decisions and that this committee would receive a progress report on these concerns in 6 months. 

 

The Scrutiny Officer mentioned that Health Watch would be coming to the December meeting to update the committee on what had been decided in June/July.

 

Resolved: That the committee considered the content of this report

and the update report presented by the council Public Health

and:

(i)   Requested that their comments in relation to the update provided against the recommendations from the Substance Misuse Review be shared with the Executive.

 

(ii) Requested that they receive further updates in six months’ time or at any time prior to changes in funding.

 

Reason:     To raise awareness of those recommendations which have been implemented or are yet to be properly implemented.

Supporting documents:

 

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