SHALOM HOUSE UN­DER SCRU­TINY: P4

EX­PERT QUES­TIONS RE­HA­BIL­I­TA­TION SUC­CESS RATE

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“Not just for a small num­ber of peo­ple, but for the ma­jor­ity of those with a par­tic­u­lar prob­lem.”

Dr Bright said there needed to be gov­ern­ment reg­u­la­tion of al­co­hol and other drug treat­ment ser­vices sec­tor.

“There is no way of know­ing ex­actly how many pri­vate ser­vices are op­er­at­ing and no sys­tem­atic mon­i­tor­ing of what they do or their out­comes,” he said.

“Gov­ern­ment-funded al­co­hol or drug treat­ment ser­vices, and pub­lic and pri­vate hos­pi­tal ser­vices, are at least re­quired to main­tain qual­ity stan­dards through es­tab­lished health ac­cred­i­ta­tion pro­cesses.

“But any­one can set up a pri­vate re­hab clinic and the ABC has pre­vi­ously re­ported how some un­scrupu­lous op­er­a­tors prey on peo­ple who are des­per­ate for help and un­able to ac­cess the over­stretched, un­der­funded pub­lic sys­tem.”

Dr Bright said there was lit­tle ev­i­dence hard-line con­fronta­tional ap­proaches, such as boot camp-style re­hab and in­ter­ven­tions, were ef­fec­tive.

“They may even be harm­ful to some peo­ple,” he said.

“The drug treat­ment field moved away from these types of in­ter­ven­tions more than 30 years ago be­cause we re­alised they just don’t work.”

Shalom House founder Peter Lyn­don-James de­clined to com­ment on the claims on the grounds they were “un­in­formed”.

“Any­one mak­ing a com­ment based on a half-hour TV seg­ment and media re­ports is not be­ing wise or con­struc­tive,” he said.

“Ev­ery re­sponse I make pro­vokes more un­in­formed com­ments by peo­ple who have not taken the time to check out the pro­gram them­selves. If they can find faults and flaws in what we do or how we do it I will do my best to take on board what is said and also try to do what I am do­ing bet­ter.”

Dr Bright said any­one con­cerned about a ser­vice could contact the Health Com­plaints Com­mis­sioner or Health Om­buds­man in WA.

ECU’s Dr Stephen Bright.

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