Action Taken to Improve Care for Patients with Substance Misuse Needs

Derbyshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust has teamed up with Chesterfield Royal Hospital NHS Foundation Trust to improve services for patients living with a substance misuse need following a report and recommendations by patient watchdog Healthwatch Derbyshire.

The Healthwatch Derbyshire report highlighted the experiences of 59 people who were dependent on drugs, alcohol or prescription drugs as well as the views of 15 carers and 15 health and social care professionals.

A number of issues were flagged up with the report concluding that more needed to be done to support people in Derbyshire who faced drug and alcohol misuse issues.

The two health providers have therefore developed various initiatives to increase staff awareness and training of the problems facing people with substance misuse issues and to ensure they are provided with better access to services.

David Henstock, Specialist Clinical Lead Nurse in the Derbyshire Healthcare Liaison Team, working within Chesterfield Hospital, said: “The Healthwatch Derbyshire report into the experience of people with substance misuse problems was very welcome.

“It helped to highlight the good work that hospitals do whilst also helping us to reflect on how we could be better still.

“Thanks to the forward thinking of Chesterfield Royal and their collaboration with the Derbyshire Healthcare Liaison Team, we have been able to use the learning from this report to ensure we continually improve our services.

“In response to the Healthwatch report we worked via the Professional Education Group of Chesterfield Royal to design an educational programme for the workforce  to help them to build their knowledge skills and confidence to interact positively with this important patient group. 

“This includes an awareness poster and a series of classroom-based educational sessions.

“We have also developed a session called "Making Every Contact Count for the Hospitalised Substance User" which has so far received excellent feedback.

“This session seeks to address head-on such issues as stigma and prejudice.  It also gives the hospital's workforce evidence-based skills that increase the likelihood that our patients can change their alcohol or drug use behaviour and as a consequence avoid future ill health and need for hospitalisation.

“Without doubt, the Healthwatch report helped us to focus our efforts and will continue to do so as we move forward.”

Healthwatch Derbyshire Chief Executive Officer Karen Ritchie said: “Healthwatch Derbyshire is an independent voice for the people of Derbyshire. We are here to listen to experiences of all Derbyshire residents and give them a stronger say in influencing how local health and social care services are provided.

“Drug and alcohol misuse is an issue for some of the most vulnerable people in society, including homeless people, those with mental health issues, LGBT+ and children of substance misusing parents.

“It’s really important that these people have a voice and are able to use that voice to make positive changes to the services they use.

“The report flagged up a number of issues and we are delighted that these two health providers have worked in an innovative way to improve services as a result of our work to highlight these issues.”




Back to news