Scotland's drug deaths: SNP ‘are not using rehab beds available on NHS Lothian’s doorstep’ claims local politician

A Lothian MSP has called for local residential rehab to be utilised, following the announcement that a national rehab centre is to be developed in North Ayrshire.

Wednesday, 4th August 2021, 12:30 pm

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Plans to develop a new residential rehabilitation facility in North Ayrshire, as part of a government response to Scotland’s growing drugs death fatalities, have been announced today.

Last week figures were released showing that drug related deaths in Scotland had reach a new record high, having risen consecutively in each of the last seven years.

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A new rehab unit is to open in an attempt to tackle Scotland's drugs deaths toll.

The number of drug related deaths in Lothian rose to 159, an increase of 4 deaths from 155 in 2019. The number of drug related deaths in Lothian has more than doubled in the last 10 years.

The new facility, which is to be run by Phoenix Futures, will provide rehabilitation services for twenty families at any one time and will be based on an existing facility run by the organisation in Sheffield.

Once given final approval, funding for the development will be made available from the £100 million announced as part of the national mission to improve and increase the provision of residential rehabilitation.

Director of operations with Phoenix Futures CJ Williams said there is a “clear and defined need” for this service however local MSP Miles Briggs has said the government should be doing more to utilise existing local services.

“Castle Craig Hospital sits just 20 miles south of Edinburgh,” he said. “But currently only 2 of the 60 patients are NHS funded.

“I have visited Castle Craig Hospital and was hugely impressed with the residential rehab services they offered and the person centred care which was helping people mostly from the Netherlands to get their lives back on track.

“There are growing questions being asked why SNP Ministers not using the rehab beds available on NHS Lothian’s doorstep?

“I have raised the opportunities which Castle Craig Hospital could present with SNP Ministers for years - we’ve seen no action as the same time as drug deaths have escalated to the shocking level we see today.

“I have written to Drugs Minister, Angela Constance, to ask why SNP Ministers are not utilising this local residential rehab facility and instead will expect patients across the East to travel Ayrshire when local rehab opportunities already exist.”

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