Councils are cutting addiction services despite rising A&E admissions

Addiction treatment services will face continued cuts while the health crisis worsens, according to research by MPs

England’s local authorities cut alcohol and drug treatment services by an average of £155,000 in 2018 – even though 39,000 more patients were admitted to hospital because of alcohol than a decade ago.

And 93 per cent of councils say the same budgets will stay the same or fall even further next year.

The figures were released by a cross-party parliamentary group for children of alcoholics, headed by shadow health secretary Jonathan Ashworth, which submitted a series of freedom of information requests to local authorities.

The decrease in treatment budgets sat at four per cent last year, though it was more extreme in places like Islington, where 34 per cent (£2,431,800) of treatment services funding was cut.

The greatest amount was knocked off the budget in Birmingham where the budget shrunk by £3,846,000.


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It is expected that these services will be cut by another 2 per cent next year – an average of over £75,000 per council.

The shadow health secretary said: “As I know from my own personal circumstances, alcohol abuse can have a devastating impact on families, especially children.

“We are seeing more admissions to hospital where alcohol is a primary cause, deaths from substance misuse at high levels and yet, rather than expanding specialist treatments services, deep cuts will be imposed on them again. This fails some of the most vulnerable in society. Government ministers must reverse these cuts as a matter of urgency.”

Almost 40 councils admitted that addiction-related hospital admissions are on the rise while their services continue to be cut. However, the same research discovered that 67 per cent of local authorities have introduced services for the children of people struggling with alcoholism and drug addiction, compared to just 25 per cent in 2015.