Chaos has gripped Bristol’s drug and alcohol services as Con-Dem cuts bite deep into budgets…
Over the last twenty years a group of organisations has handled advice, support, housing and other services for people with drug and alcohol problems in Bristol. Overseen by the ‘Safer Bristol’ Substance Misuse Team (SMT) bodies such as Bristol Drugs Project (BDP) and the Addiction Recovery Agency (ARA) handled different parts of the service to aid the recovery and support of addicts.
Earlier this year some idiot (thought to be head of the SMT Sue Bandcroft) decided to unleash the FREE MARKET on these services by asking BDP, ARA and other organisations to bid for a much-reduced budget slashed by Con-Dem austerity measures. The result? Like tossing a bone to a bunch of starving dogs – yes, a dog fight ensued, creating chaos for drug workers and their clients across the city as ARA, BDP and the others fought it out for a pitiful pot of money.
Overseeing this mess in July, Bandcroft and the SMT, throwing decades of addiction experience to the wind, went with the CHEAPEST BIDS, causing whole parts of the service to be relocated and reorganised. Then they promptly washed their hands and walked away from it all, leaving ARA, BDP and other services in chaos. The heads of BDP and ARA both knew in April that undercutting each other for the Con-Dem bone would lead to massive cuts in the services and redundancies, but they refused to inform their employees of the situation until it was a done deal.
On Friday 1st November (D-Day) demoralised drug workers will find out if they still have a job after the expected 30% REDUNDANCIES – and clients will be forced to relocate as drug services are passed from one organisation to another like a crazy ‘pass-the-parcel’. The SMT will sit like a dysfunctional Pontius Pilate behind its laughable statement “the re-commissioning places the clients at the centre of the process”, while employees and clients will ask…
‘Ever get the feeling you’ve been cheated?’
fucking criminal the way this service has been fucked on
Add to the mix previous cuts and the loss of places such as Naomi Hse for women, and the cuts to budgets of ‘The Well’ for women and the situation is even worse than the article suggests.
I remember a friend saying to me that one of Thatcher’s cleverest moves was to put government money into the community/voluntary sector. It worked. A lot of previously vociferous and ‘radical’ groups put out their paws and gobbled up the bribes. Thirty years later, it is their clients who are paying the price. This is a case in point.
The article sums up the sham succinctly which has resulted in ARA no longer providing drug and alcohol treatment services In Bristol. This is a complete travesty. So many ARA clients have genuinely got better from the cruel illness of addiction. ARA has shown them care, respect & honestly – essential values – what a shambles….