Drug and alcohol service rated ‘good’ but test area improvements required

Turning Point, Ipswich Picture: LUCY TAYLOR

Turning Point, Ipswich Picture: LUCY TAYLOR

A substance misuse service for people across Suffolk has been rated ‘good’ by health inspectors.

The Suffolk Recovery Network, operated by Turning Point, was inspected by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) in October.

Inspectors visited the Ipswich Hub, community team in Bury St Edmunds and community treatment centre in Lowestoft, which all offer support to people with drug and alcohol problems in surrounding areas, have needle exchanges, make referrals and offer advice, information and therapies. Turning Point also has a criminal justice team for people released from custody or given a treatment order by the courts.

A report said the CQC found caring and cohesive teams of staff, who went “above and beyond” to maintain contact and encourage engagement. Inspectors spoke to 19 service users, who all gave positive feedback, including some who called the service “lifesaving” and said they would otherwise no longer be around.

Staff completed a comprehensive initial risk assessment for clients at the start of treatment. Risk assessments were regularly reviewed and updated, and the quality of risk assessment was consistently good.

Services were rated ‘good’ for being effective, caring, responsive and well-led, but inspectors found safety improvements were needed.

The CQC found the Bury St Edmunds hub had no hand washing facilities in the urine testing room and that the Ipswich testing area was not fit for purpose, due to its location at the bottom of a stairwell, where service users were seen sitting on the stairs waiting for test results.

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Waiting times had improved since inspectors last visited, said the report, with the 21-day target from referral to assessment being met at Lowestoft, and extra support given to the Bury St Edmunds assessment team to offer appointments within 21 days.

Targets were still not being met the Ipswich site, but an action plan to offer more assessments per week was having a positive impact on reducing waiting times.

A Turning Point spokesman said: “We are really pleased to have been awarded an overall ‘good’ rating from the CQC at Suffolk Recovery Network.

“The inspection demonstrates how the values we all hold at Turning Point leads to quality service provision and we have been working closely with the CQC to ensure recommendations are implemented.”