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Call for better GP access to substance misuse services

GPs face stark variations in their access to drug treatment services, a new report from two Government agencies warns.

Services for patients have improved but remain 'patchy', the Healthcare Commission and National Treatment Agency for Substance Misuse concluded.

Paul Hayes, chief executive of the agency, said: 'This review clearly demonstrates that in some places local partnerships and health providers are failing to deliver the high quality of care needed to help people turn their lives around.'

Dr Linda Harris, clinical director of the RCGP Substance Misuse Unit, said training 6,000 GPs in harm reduction and treatment had made a 'significant contribution' to waiting times and quality of care.

'The findings appear to be less positive in respect of the care planning of substance misusers,' she said.

'It is vital GPs have greater

access to wraparound services, support for misusers with housing and employment issues, residential programmes and timely access to psychological services.'

The report also called for services to keep people in treatment longer and improve methadone prescribing.

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