Drug helpers join forces to cut wait time

Sunday Tasmanian - - News -

TWO of the state’s res­i­den­tial drug and al­co­hol re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion providers have cut their wait­ing lists by join­ing forces to en­sure peo­ple who need in­ten­sive sup­port re­ceive it quickly.

The Sal­va­tion Army, the Launce­s­ton City Mis­sion and the state Al­co­hol and Drug Ser­vices have for­malised a long-term re­la­tion­ship to bet­ter stream­line ser­vices and pri­ori­tise treat­ments.

The col­lab­o­ra­tion — la­belled Part­ner­ship in Al­co­hol and other Drugs Res­i­den­tial Treat­ment — has earned the praise of Al­co­hol, To­bacco and Other Drugs Coun­cil chief ex­ec­u­tive Ali­son Lai, who noted wait­ing lists for res­i­den­tial treat­ment were an on­go­ing con­cern for the state.

“This is an ex­am­ple of the com­mu­nity sec­tor not sit­ting back and wait­ing for the prob­lem to get worse, or wait­ing for the Govern­ment to sort the is­sue out for them,” Ms Lai said.

“Proac­tively work­ing to­gether to com­mu­ni­cate across or­gan­i­sa­tions and use what beds we have avail­able in the most ef­fec­tive way pos­si­ble is hav­ing an im­me­di­ate and sig­nif­i­cantly im­por­tant im­pact on the de­liv­ery of ser­vices to Tasmanians across our is­land.”

Sal­va­tion Army al­co­hol and other drugs state man­ager Penny Chugg agreed the fort­nightly panel meet­ings had paid div­i­dends.

“One of the key ben­e­fits is that we’re able to work to­gether in that col­lab­o­ra­tive process to pri­ori­tise,” she said.

“We can look at the in­di­vid­ual’s re­quire­ments and make that de­ci­sion. If we’ve got six beds in the state avail­able and we’ve got 20 peo­ple wait­ing to get in, who do we take first?”

The Sal­va­tion Army’s Ho­bart wait­ing list was six peo­ple on Fri­day.

City Mis­sion’s Mis­sion­dale, in the North, had a wait­ing list of fewer than 30 peo­ple, down from more than 40, ac­cord­ing to chief ex­ec­u­tive Stephen Brown.

Mr Brown said: “This gives us an op­por­tu­nity to look at all the re­sources in the state.”

The State Govern­ment said it would soon an­nounce the provider of 30 res­i­den­tial re­hab beds.

Ms Chugg em­pha­sised that any­one who needed sup­port would re­ceive it im­me­di­ately.

“A lot of peo­ple think if you have an [al­co­hol and other drugs] is­sue that a res­i­den­tial bed is the only treat­ment op­tion, and in fact there are quite a lot of other op­tions,” she said.

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