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#KeepTheFewNHSIPUs Messages of Support

The NHS Inpatient Network campaign; #KeepTheFewNHSIPUs is gaining national support. Below are just a few messages of support from our alliance members, supporters and service users which highlight the vital importance of these services.


“It is no exaggeration to say that the UK’s in-patient detox units bring those who are able to access them back from the brink of death, giving them a fresh chance at life beyond addiction. But with just five of these units operational in the country and the fate of these uncertain due to years of crippling funding cuts, this vital service which should be rolled out nationwide is under threat. 

To extinguish a treatment option which for many is a last ray of hope that enables them to turn their life around would be a stride back into the dark ages and away from the public health focused approach to drug use which we know makes our country safer and better for all. I wish NHS APA every success in their campaign to safeguard the remaining in-patient detox units and to secure funding to make this acute service as available as needed.”

— Crispin Blunt MP, Chairman of the CDPRG


The funding system for NHS IPUs is in urgent need for reform. For far too long we have seen decision-making based on finance, rather than clinical need – and this needs to change. Without urgent action, the patients of the future are at risk of not receiving the care and treatment that they so desperately need.”

- Danny Hames, NHS APA Chair


“The future of NHS IPUs is now at breaking point, at a time when these services are more needed than ever. In the last three years, NHS IPUs have seen an increase in the number of patients admitted to their services and a significant increase in the level of complexity of patients. With patient numbers are going up, it is vital that we call on the government to secure the future of these services. If we don’t take action now, we will see an unnecessary and avoidable increase in the number of substance use and alcohol-related deaths in England.”

- Jon Shorrock, Chair of the NHS Inpatient Network


“I started my nursing career in addictions by gaining experience within 3 inpatient units run by South London and Maudsley back in 2007. In my opinion they were excellent units and were treating patients that were high risk and who were not ideal candidates for community detoxification. None of those units are in operation today... The current funding model has seen a huge increase of treatment provision by non-statutory services, in my opinion this has led to a reduction in the quality of treatment delivered, this is made worse by short contracts with the associated uncertainty and lack of continuity, something which is essential for this client group. I believe there is an undeniable need for more NHS in-patient detoxification units and that they would lead to reduction in drug and alcohol related deaths.”

- John Lyons, South Wales


“I worked at the Chapman Barker Unit for five years and worked on the development and implementation of RADAR. I have since migrated to Melbourne and work as AOD Clinical Lead in Treatment Services. I witness here in Melbourne, the continued presentations of frequent flyers presenting at ER, and the massive financial cost, health burdens and the distress of families. RADAR is an essential service and if it is removed it will be counterproductive to the rising death rate of alcohol users' huge financial NHS costs and community damage will outweigh the cost of running RADAR.”

- Jo Pioro, Melbourne, Australia


"We have to return the level of funding to what it once was & reinstate all of the tiers of services. Particularly for services like acute inpatient services & residential rehab services."

- Dr Ed Day, Clinical Reader at the Institute for Mental Health at the University of Birmingham and a Consultant in Addiction Psychiatry with Birmingham & Solihull Mental Health NHS Trust

National Recovery Champion


"Less experienced and less skilled staff become involved in delivering interventions to those with most complexity, leading to poorer health outcomes and in some cases premature death."

- Kate Hall, Head of Operations, Greater Manchester Mental Health NHS Foundation Trust


“I feel and what I have been calling for some time is a review of the commissioning structure of Inpatient Care. It needs to be strategic, it needs to be specialist, and it needs to be NHS-led. And the provision should be based on the level of need.”

- Professor Colin Drummond, Professor of Addiction Psychiatry, Head of the Alcohol Research Group, and Consultant Psychiatrist at the National Addiction Centre, Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neuroscience, King’s College London and South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust


“There are now only five NHS inpatient units in the country, and no resource anywhere in my region to admit people who are alcohol dependent with co-existing mental illness.”

-Prof Julia Sinclair, @rcpsych


”From my perspective this unit saved my life and is saving a lot of lives I know because I'm still in recovery. I still go to outside meetings as part of my recovery. I still see people who have been in the unit as a patient. They are still clean and sober. They have their life back again. I can relate to what happens to people after detox. This place saves lives. Not just our [service user] lives, but our families’ lives too.”

- Patryk, Service User and Healthcare Assistant at the ACER Unit in Bristol


“I would highly praise the staff at Edwards Myers, they were and are just brilliant in how they look after you. They’re supportive and kind, but honest and real with you too. They don’t wrap you in cotton wool; they know they can’t always be there to look after you as they do in the unit so they prepare you and help you to live on the outside. I know that if it wasn’t for the staff here, I’d be dead.”

- Tony, Service User


“I cannot say enough good things about the staff from Edward Myers Unit. They were there in the darkest times to talk to me and help me over the hurdles. They were fantastic and I guess I owe my life to them. The group work is really good and I think is the right balance of supporting you and challenging you to question the things that you have done and the decisions that you’ve made.”

- Anna, Service User


“We need to support both harm reduction and recovery services. For the acute cases we need a clinical inpatient service and the need for treatment for clinical detox especially around alcohol is definitely growing. If we don't put specialist provision in place it is going to continue to create a huge pressure on other healthcare and addiction services.”

- Paul Moores, Commissioner for drug and alcohol services in Bristol


“These wards provide a crucial part of a pathway that has become badly under-resourced over recent years. It is time that this situation was addressed and these services put on a sustainable footing.”

- Dominic Hardisty, Chief Executive, Avon and Wiltshire Mental Health Partnership NHS Trust


"Alcohol and substance misuse is a major public health problem in the UK. Over a number of years, addiction services (and high-level training in the management of substance misuse) have in my view been sidelined, minimized, fragmented, and cut. Addiction services are now too few and too small; they require expansion."

- Rudolf Cardinal - Cambridge


" Drug related deaths are the highest ever recorded levels and yet services to support those affected by substance misuse have had significant cuts, lack of detox beds and rehab units will have an impact on the numbers able to achieve recovery therefore increasing the risk of DRD's."

- Catriona Wakelin, Whitehaven


" I’ve seen first hand the importance of medical intervention in the process of detoxification and am already very unhappy at the way that your postcode determines what level of care you receive. There is no match for the services of the NHS - please consider the petition put forwards and see the importance of keeping services open to all."

- Tom Watts Newcastle-under-Lyme


" These units are life savers literally. They help people fight their addictions and go on to lead happy and fulfilling lives."

- Carol Pieroni, Sale


" 30 years ago, I trained in in-patient addiction units: a drug detox unit and an alcohol treatment centre. I could not have obtained the experience of managing severe addiction and interactions between complex physical and psychiatric consequences of addiction anywhere else.  This experience was essential in my career as a general, community psychiatrist."

- Lesley Haines, Staffordshire


" I currently work within one of the NHS Inpatient Drug and Alcohol Units. The client group we as a service are willing to accept are the most vulnerable, most unwell and most in need of medical and psychosocial interventions. It has been noted that our Unit will accept individuals whom other (privately run) services will not accept due to the complexity that the service user presents. NHS Inpatient services for Drug & Alcohol service users need to remain funded and supported."

- David Williams, Bristol


" Pregnant drug/alcohol users are one of the many groups for whom inpatient provision is vital. Our unit has allowed women to stabilise and /or detox , without which they cannot access residential rehab. Many women go on to be able to parent children who would otherwise be removed hence there are huge long-term savings to health and social care, as well as the opportunity to break the cycle of generations of use of the care system."

- Janine Hale-Brown, Bristol


Support the #KeepTheFewNHSIPUs campaign

We appreciate all NHS APA and NHS IPN supporters taking the time to support our #KeepTheFewNHSIPUs campaign which advocates for Tier 4 funding and specialist commissioning via NHSE.

Please sign the IPU petition where you can also pledge and offer comments of support to the campaign. It only takes a few seconds to complete and you can do so here.


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