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Sharing best ideas to help addicts; HEALTH Reporter HELEN RAE explains how a substance misuse treatment service is driving up standards of care in the region.


A TYNESIDE drug treatment service is among the members of a unique new partnership to drive up standards in drug and alcohol treatment in England and help more people achieve recovery. Doctors, former drug users, healthcare managers and charities, among others, are members of the new Substance Misuse Skills Consortium, which launched last week with an online gateway, the Skills Hub.

The members are at the drug treatment service, which is based at Bridge View on City Road, Newcastle, and is run by Newcastle and North Tyneside Community health. Dr Meng Khaw, director of public health for Newcastle Primary Care Trust welcomed the new support.

He said: "The Substance Misuse Skills Consortium is another tool aimed at helping frontline drug and alcohol workers to improve services and the Skills Hub offers easy access to hundreds of resources.

"This new resource gives everyone in the field the chance to share best practice and work together towards recovery for service users."

The chairman of the Skills Consortium, William Butler said: "Everyone involved in drug and alcohol treatment wants to help users overcome addiction and achieve safe, sustained recovery and reintegration into their communities.

"This is an important new initiative to harness the extensive knowledge in the sector to create a highly skilled and ambitious workforce to enable drug and alcohol users to succeed in treatment."

The National Treatment Agency (NTA) is providing the secretariat for the consortium.

Paul Hayes, chief executive, said: "This is a homegrown initiative by employers and provider organisations to improve the skills and clinical practice of the drug and alcohol treatment workforce, and the NTA is helping to enable it become a self-sufficient operation."

A challenging programme of work for the consortium in the coming year will support services in meeting the recovery ambitions of their users.

He said it will include forming a sector-led consensus on how to develop the evidence base that supports effective treatment, ensuring that qualifications and training meet the needs of treatment services, and adding even more online resources to the Skills Hub.

The Skills Consortium has been open for membership since July this year and has 170 full and associate members. Its website can be found at or for further information email ASTHMA brought on by conditions at work could be costing the UK up to pounds 135m a year, researchers said.

Asthma in the workplace can take weeks, months or even years to develop, depending on the substance a person is exposed to and their individual health.

The most common cause of this type of asthma in the UK are chemicals called isocyanates, which are used in many jobs such as spray painting, foam moulding using adhesives and surface coatings.

Other hazards that can induce asthma include dust from flour and grains, wood dust in carpentry and joinery, soldering fumes and chemicals used in floor cleaners, dust from latex rubber and particles from animals or insects.

Research said an estimated 3,000 new cases of occupational asthma are diagnosed every year in the UK.

Experts predicted the impact of asthma on a person's life, including how frequently they would use health services.

The financial impacts were divided up between the individual, the employer and the state and included NHS and benefit costs, lost income and productivity. The cost added up to between pounds 72 and pounds 100m over the lifetimes of people with occupational asthma, or pounds 3.4 to pounds 4.8m a year, and were twice as big for men as women.

Half the costs fell on the individual and just under half fell on the state, but only 3% to 4% fells on employers.

PLUMMETING temperatures increase the number of adults admitted to hospital suffering serious injury, according to the largest study of its kind.

Every 5C drop in temperature - for example due to severe night time frost - boosts adult admissions for serious injury by more than 3%, while snow leads to an 8% rise.

This means that if one day the minimum temperature is 10C but the next day it drops to 5C, the number of admissions will increase.

And every additional 10mm of rainfall also increases trauma admissions by 2.2%, according to the study, which tracked hospital data and weather patterns for a decade.

Rain has been linked to more traffic accidents.

Major reasons for admission include traffic accidents and falls, the study showed.

At the other end of the scale, every 5C temperature rise above daily maximum during the summer boosts the number of hospital admissions among children by 10%.

Researcher Giles Pattison, from the University Hospitals of Coventry and Warwickshire, said the study suggests the UK is not so well prepared for winter months.

He said in the mid-west of America, where temperatures can fall dramatically, the number of hospital admissions actually goes down.

"If it snows there, there's a siege mentality. People take a snow day, stay home and don't go to work," he explained.


DESPERATE DRINKER The new Skills Consortium will help drug and alcohol workers share best practice
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)
Geographic Code:4EUUE
Date:Nov 29, 2010
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