DDN April2022 April 2022 - Page 14

WORKFORCE

UNFULFILLED POTENTIAL

Third sector organisations could play a vital role in addressing the desperate shortage of training places for addiction psychiatrists , says Dr David Bremner

Specialist doctors are essential to the delivery of a safe substance misuse sector , yet the absence of training places risks a whole generation of addiction psychiatrists being lost . As the incoming vice chair of the Royal College of Psychiatrists Addictions Executive , I plan to address that .

The new ten-year drug strategy is clear in its ambition to grow the treatment offer and the important role clinical staff have to play in it . But without the necessary efforts of all , we will lose our ability to provide the specialist psychiatry support our patients need .
With a disparity of funding by Health Education England ( HEE ) between NHS and third sector providers and the reticence of the NHS to work in partnership to develop solutions , it ’ s a crisis of the sector ’ s making . Particularly when solutions exist .
Across Leicester , Leicestershire and Rutland , Turning Point has successfully set up an addiction psychiatry training post – the only one I ’ m aware of in the third sector .
Through collaboration between HEE , the NHS and us ( helped by trainees lobbying for places to be made available ), we have put in place a secondment agreement with the trust with whom Turning Point share the costs of employing , contracting and training an ST4-6 grade doctor . The approach is mutually beneficial to Turning Point and the NHS and most importantly , those accessing substance misuse support .
Our experience demonstrates that large third sector organisations can provide high quality training opportunities and should play a bigger role in averting the crisis we face . We cannot do it alone .

LET ’ S GET TO WORK

For a decade now substance misuse services have been largely underfunded and overlooked . This has unfortunately led to many people either being made redundant due to reducing budgets or choosing

New investment means that now is the time to get the sector ’ s workforce in shape for the future , says Nat Travis
to leave the sector .
As someone told me recently , what was once the prime destination became a stepping stone – a sector where the squeezing of contracts and a mantra of ‘ more for less ’ has meant less opportunity for development and specialism . It ’ s meant that many people have instead moved onto jobs in domestic abuse services , the criminal justice system or mental health provision .
This wasn ’ t always the case . When I graduated I applied for jobs in the substance misuse sector , but without experience I didn ’ t stand a chance . Competition was fierce . Instead , I first worked as a support worker in mental health services to gain experience and then moved across .
Now the new drug strategy is putting focus and money back into the sector in a way we haven ’ t seen in over a decade , and a key part of the strategy is its ambition for the substance misuse workforce . Leaders in the sector have been tasked with strengthening the skills and professionalism of the workforce , improving integration , employment opportunities and treatment outcomes . At Turning Point , we see our staff as our
What was once a prime destination has become a stepping stone – a sector where the squeezing of contracts and a mantra of ‘ more for less ’ has meant less opportunity for development and specialism .
greatest asset , so we welcome this opportunity to refocus , reinvest and re-specialise our workforce .
If the expectation is for world
14 • DRINK AND DRUGS NEWS • APRIL 2022 WWW . DRINKANDDRUGSNEWS . COM