A statement from our Chair, Danny Hames.
The announcement that Coronavirus has now been classified as a pandemic by the World Health Organisation was no surprise and reflected the level of work that I, as an NHS employee, have witnessed over the last few weeks. This is being replicated by organisations across the country and in all sectors.
I recently attended the Dame Carol Black Drug Summit and attended a workshop on stigma which provided an insight to how drug and alcohol service users and patients are often disadvantaged across health and social care.
The expected trend with regards to the spread of Coronavirus and its potential impact, particularly on the vulnerable and those with pre-existing conditions such as respiratory conditions, are individuals that often use our services.
For service users who are homeless, clarity with regards to what pathways are in place for them to self-isolate if required is less than clear and needs to be resolved. The worst case scenario is this will place a great strain on all services including drug and alcohol services. Across the NHS - organisations that work across localities and across borders are as a system working on how they will shift resources across this system and from service to service.
Due to drug and alcohol services being provided by different organisations in different local authority areas this cross resourcing is not necessarily being considered. In this time of great challenge this provides an opportunity for organisations who provide services across England to quickly establish how can they potentially support each other to weather this storm.
Therefore NHS APA will be trying to draw together all key partners including Collective Voice and other interested partners across the sector to quickly work towards a set of principles in an effort to maximise the ability of the sector as a whole to minimise the impact to service users.
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