NHS inpatient network

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The current NHS inpatient detox provision in England is at breaking point and there is a risk that patients living with the most life-threatening addictions will not be able to access appropriate treatment in the very near future.


With only 5 remaining units in England, 4 of which are members of NHS APA and the NHS Inpatient Network (IPN), there is already a postcode lottery for patients in terms of access to these vital services.

That is why NHS APA and the members of the NHS IPN have launched a national campaign in order to secure the future funding of NHS Inpatient Units.


support the campaign

We appreciate NHS APA supporters taking the time to support our #KeepTheFewNHSIPUs campaign. The following provides some really easy ways for you to help the campaign:

  1. Use, like and retweet the #KeepTheFewNHSIPUs hashtag on Twitter.

  2. Contact your MP and ask them to support the campaign. We have prepared a letter that you can simply download, sign and email to your MP. If you do not know who your MP is or their email address you can find them easily here. This will take no more than 2 mins.

  3. Sign our electronic petition (takes 30 seconds):

Sign the petition

To sign the petition, please take the time to fill out the information below.

NHS Inpatient Network Business Case
NHS APA and NHS IPN believe that due to the acute nature of the clinical services, commissioning arrangements for NHS Inpatient Detox units should be changed.


They should change to allow NHS England to directly commission/fund all existing NHS Inpatient Detox Units under a single specification, in line with similar Tier 4 specialist services such as Specialist Inpatient CAMHS and Perinatal Mental Health units.

This will safeguard the existence of these acute services in the short term and allow a stable foundation from which to ensure that there is sufficient access to this provision across England for all patients. NHS APA and the NHS Inpatient Network believe there would be substantial improvements to patient care planning and interventions if NHS IPUs were directly commissioned/funded in this way. They have launched a Tier 4 funding business case and will submit an application for specialist commissioning via NHS England.

In addition, NHS APA and NHS IPN are also campaigning for NHS England, in partnership with Public Health England, to undertake further reviews of the demand for this provision as well as scoping what a sufficient national model of NHS Inpatient Detox provision could look like. This will inform future investment and future commissioning decisions.

campaign press

We welcome the opportunity to speak about our #KeepTheFewNHSIPUs campaign and the situation facing the five remaining NHS IPUs. 

To request further information or interviews, please fill out our press contact form.

about inpatient units

what is an IPU?

NHS Inpatient Units (IPUs) are medically managed detox services that also deal with complex physical, mental health and behavioural issues and provide 24-hour nursing care to those with acute substance misuse issues.


They are Consultant Psychiatrist-led, hospital-based and support the most complex patients, who are dependent on substances, to take their first steps on their road to recovery. 

There are currently only 5 NHS Inpatient Detox units operating in the entirety of the UK, which equates to less than 100 beds. These include:

  1. ACER - Blackberry Hill Hospital, Bristol

  2. Edward Myers - Harplands Hospital, Stoke-On-Trent

  3. Chapman Barker - Prestwich Hospital, Manchester

  4. Bridge House - Maidstone

  5. Merseycare- Liverpool

risks facing NHS IPUs

Disinvestment in the sector, as most recently highlighted in the Dame Carol Black report, shows budgets for substance misuse services have significantly reduced.

This means that Local Authorities that hold the responsibility for commissioning local substance misuse services are often faced with no other option than to focus the funding that they receive from Public Health England, on their community drug and alcohol services, rather than funding inpatient detox units that support a smaller but more acute cohort of service users.


Without secured funding for NHS IPUs to manage and treat the most complex and acute patients which other NHS and 3rd sector services are unable to manage, there will be an increase in the number of substance use and alcohol related deaths & morbidity (such as liver disease).


There is also a high risk of increased admission rates, re-admissions, length of stay and costs to acute trusts, mental health trusts, primary care, adult social care, the criminal justice system and other agencies. Without secure funding there is a significant risk to patients as well as the wider healthcare system including other drug and alcohol services.

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