Austerity cuts blamed as City Roads drug and alcohol clinic shuts

Closure after 41 years follows funding switch to community care for drug and alcohol addiction

Friday, 14th June 2019 — By Emily Finch

City Roads clinic in Finsbury

City Roads clinic in Finsbury

THE director of a charity-run drug and alcohol detox clinic in Finsbury has blamed “austerity” for its closure after 41 years in the borough.

The City Roads clinic, run by charity Cranstoun, closed its doors last month. It offered a “high-care detoxification facility for alcohol and drug users with enduring and complex needs”.

Executive director Peter Glass told the Tribune: “All drug and alcohol services funding has changed in the public sector with austerity. There have been significant cuts to the type of provision offered at City Roads.”

A “systematic withdrawal” of funding in the residential sector had taken place over the last 20 years, he said. The emphasis was now on a “care in the community” approach for those suffering from drug or alcohol addiction.

A statement on the charity’s website reads: “The decision to close comes at a time when there remains a high level of need for this type of provision. Despite this, diminishing resources have consistently reduced referrals below the level required to support the ongoing operation.”

The Town Hall made £2.3m worth of savings in drug and alcohol services between 2014 and 2017, with just over £1m cut last year.

The majority of savings were made last year by turning what was formerly nine contracts into just one. The contract, worth £4.9m a year, was awarded to Camden and Islington NHS Trust following a tendering process.

The council previously covered the costs for Islington residents who referred themselves to City Roads. In January last year self-referral was stopped and residents had to be referred through GPs or other organisations. Placements were managed and paid for by Camden and Islington NHS Trust once it took over the contract.

The council’s executive member for health, Councillor Janet Burgess, had not provided a comment by the time of going to press.

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