New Devon-wide drug and alcohol partnership chosen

A partnership of EDP Drug & Alcohol Services (EDP), Devon Doctors and Devon Partnership NHS Trust (DPT) has been successful in its bid to deliver drug and alcohol services in communities across Devon. The contract with Devon County Council, which could potentially run for up to nine years, will launch 1 April 2018.

The collaboration, which calls itself Together Drug & Alcohol Service (Together), aims to support people to build healthy lifestyles, healthy relationships, healthy families and healthy communities.

Together will be supported by the Devon Together Alliance, a formal partnership of Devon-based organisations offering support to people with complex lives. Current Alliance members include EDP, Devon Doctors, DPT, Exeter Community Initiatives (ECI), Freedom Community Alliance, SAFE (Stop Abuse for Everyone), Shekinah, Westbank and Westward Housing.

Together will work together with local organisations who are committed to delivering a new, different and creative way of partnership working. The service will work collaboratively, moving over the first year or so to a system where people only tell their story once and can access support when and where it is needed across the whole of Devon and online.

The new service aims to minimise any disruption to service users and their families and. wherever possible, people will continue to have the same key worker.

Councillor Roger Croad, Devon County Council’s lead member for commissioning public health services, said: “This new contract will provide a truly integrated offer for people who are experiencing a number of difficulties in their lives, to help support them through to recovery.

“The service combines support for drug and alcohol misuse, with a range of psychological interventions and links with housing advice, Early Help support, and advice and support to improve people’s physical and mental health.

“The eventual aim is that support will be centred around individuals and their families, making it easier for them to access the support they need, where and when they need it.   It will move away from the trauma of people having to tell their story every time they connect with a new organisation, which reinforces the sense of stigma and shame, and towards a focus on recovery, wellness and purpose.

“We’re really excited about the launch of this new service, which demonstrated a strong commitment to Devon’s community and a thorough understanding of the complexities in people’s lives.”

EDP currently provides a range of local support for people to learn new skills, seek support on their journey to recovery, or find new opportunities, such as the Hidden Gems project, which works with people to make and sell jewellery out of copper piping.

Lucie Hartley, Chief Executive of EDP said: “EDP have been delivering drug and alcohol services in the county for over 30 years and we embrace the opportunity to continue to provide services to the people of Devon. Problems with drugs and alcohol are usually a symptom of other difficulties people face in their lives. As a locally-based charity, we are genuinely excited by the vision of the commissioners and our partners for a service which focuses on solutions and opportunities to address these difficulties.

“We fully appreciate the work that Addaction has been doing over the term of the contract, working with EDP between 2014-17, and acknowledge the expertise and relationships that staff have with service users, partners, and stakeholders across the county.

“We are keen to build on these strengths over the coming months, and explore ways to develop the service in collaboration with them.”

Gill Unstead, Devon County Council’s Commissioning Lead for Drug and Alcohol Services: “I am really excited about the possibilities of the new model, but also want to pay tribute to Addaction[LH-E1]  for the great work that has set the foundations for these developments to happen.

“Our aim now is to have a safe and seamless transfer to the new service, both for service users and their families, and for staff, who are central to the continued success of the future model.

“We look forward to working with EDP and their partners and staff and service users, and developing relationships with communities and agencies across Devon, to enable people to get the support they need, where and when they need it.”

Dr Mark Eggleton, Medical Director from Devon Doctors said: "Devon Doctors is very excited to be part of the Devon Together Alliance. We hope that by bringing with us both our strong links with primary care and established infrastructure we can make a major contribution to the provision of a truly integrated service in support  of people in Devon with complex lives.”