Welcome to the Summer Bulletin
The recent Budget announcement by George Osborne outlining major cuts in public expenditure will no doubt be the cause of much speculation as to where the axe will fall on public services and what impact there will be on the national drugs strategy. Given the scale of the budget cuts it would be naïve to believe that investment in drug treatment will remain at the current level. However, it is still too early in the life of the new government to know what their approach to tackling drug misuse will be even though we can be assured that there will be some change. Trying to influence what that change will be has been at the forefront of senior management activity in Compass for the last nine months. We firmly believe that change is needed in the focus of treatment, in the bureaucracy that surrounds treatment and in the way that treatment is delivered and these are the messages that we have been delivering to government for some time.
The emphasis on achieving greater numbers of people in recovery is welcome since we have always believed that our primary objective is to help people get off drugs and establish safe and productive lifestyles. That the focus on recovery must also be supported by action that reduces harm makes perfect sense to us. The development of a balanced treatment system will be vital to proving to government that the investment is worthwhile. To that end, we hope to see performance and quality measures that enable us to demonstrate fully the effectiveness of drug treatment. It is equally important to have those measures applied by a bureaucratic framework that is lean and efficient, with a commissioning process that is more open, inclusive, and expert.
In a market that has a mix of statutory and non-statutory providers, which is largely dominated by the former who tend to be more expensive and less accountable, there will be room for savings through increased competition. For some time, we have been arguing for a change in commissioning practice that opens up NHS provision to greater and fairer contest. There is every chance that those arguments will now be heard by government. In Compass we have a good track record in delivering care that has traditionally been thought of as the preserve of the NHS and we have met with great success in competition for contracts held by NHS providers. We should believe that even in hard times Compass can continue to develop its range of services.
There will be change and some of it may bring pain but we should view it as an opportunity to restore the balance between reducing harm and achieving abstinence, taking forward the best of what has been achieved over the last 40 years whilst reducing inefficiency and duplication.
Chief Executive Officer