HC Deb 19 June 2002 vol 387 c440W
Mr. Laws

To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what action the Government are taking to increase investment in drug rehabilitation services in Somerset; and if he will make a statement; [62396]

how many units there are in Somerset providing residential rehabilitation for drug users; and if he will make a statement; [62398]

if he will make a statement on waiting times from GP referral to initial consultation for users of illegal drugs in Somerset. [62397]

Ms Blears

The Government are committed to the improvement of drug rehabilitation services. In Somerset the overall budget for treatment rose from £2.383 million in 2001–02 to £2.71 million this year. Nearly £400,000 of new money is being spent on treatment this year alone.

Information on waiting times from general practitioner (GP) referrals to initial consultation is not collected centrally. I am, however, advised by Dorset and Somerset health authority that Somerset GPs generally refer patients to Somerset drugs services, which is managed by Somerset Partnership national health service and social care trust. Waiting times vary across the county but action has been taken to improve access to services, including funding this year for two nursing posts, one each side of the county, to focus particularly on improving waiting times.

There is one residential drug rehabilitation unit in Somerset. However, Somerset social services department contracts to use services in neighbouring counties as and when needed.

Mr. Laws

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what proportion of drug and addiction consultancy posts are vacant in England at the latest date for which information is available; and if he will make a statement. [62401]

Mr. Hutton

The Department's "Vacancy Survey" (March 2001), lists figures for general psychiatry. There were 130 vacancies, with a 7.8 per cent. vacancy rate. This survey does not have a more specific breakdown of vacancies (for example figures for consultants with an interest in substance misuse).

Forward to