HC Deb 02 May 2000 vol 349 c20
17. Ms Karen Buck (Regent's Park and Kensington, North)

What action he is taking to improve the delivery of drug rehabilitation programmes. [119070]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Health (Yvette Cooper)

Action to tackle drug abuse is one of the key issues set out in the national priorities guidance for health authorities, which was issued last year. Drug rehabilitation forms part of our cross-government strategy on drug abuse. Better performance management and guidance on optimum models of care will ensure that more people get into treatment that really works, including residential rehabilitation. We are backing that with extra resources.

Ms Buck

I thank my hon. Friend for that answer. Does she agree that one of the principal barriers to the effective working of drug rehabilitation units is the acute shortage of trained and experienced drug rehabilitation workers? What action are the Government taking to deal with the shortage of staff throughout the country, but particularly in some of our inner-city communities?

Yvette Cooper

My hon. Friend is right. We are giving £70 million of additional resources to health authorities and local authorities over the coming three years, in addition to developing the national guidance to improve capacity, but one of the key issues is the work force, which is why we have launched a national recruitment campaign aimed at those who are not involved in drug treatment work. So far, we have received an extremely strong response.