From our pilots – Wakefield

Thinking outside of the box!

“Early on the pervading opinion with most of the Recovery Representatives had been one of scepticism and a certain amount of mistrust and concern. True, for a considerable time it had been felt that some parts of the Treatment Service had begun to somewhat ‘gum up’ with those on methadone maintenance seeming to be ‘parked’ on their scripts and maybe that being seen as an easy option but we didn’t feel clear-headed about all this PbR stuff. That said it did feel like we were being booted out of our comfort zones! Our problem was that we weren’t taking account of the existing situation which was unsustainable and downright unhelpful to us service users: as more of us were ‘parked’ more of us saw less of our drugs worker because they didn’t have the time to spend with us! Something needed to be done about it.”

“Along came PbR with its Domains Outcomes and Tools. We still hadn’t grasped the nettle as yet, but we received an invite to participate in the process, and everybody agreed we should take part whether that was born of a wish to sabotage it or, more productively, to help mould it to our agenda. So we ran a consultation exercise at the end of last year to find out what was wanted. Service users from all parts of the Services said to us ‘MORE STRUCTURE NOT LESS PLEASE’: the idea that everything could just chug along merrily was clearly getting a very cold reception!”

“So the old Structured Day Programme with its youth-clubby feel and actually rather UN-structured format was wound up and ARC (Accord Recovery Centre) was born with its focus on recovery, employment and training. Since its launch ARC has actually received a warm welcome from service users – ‘Now this is what we’ve been wanting’. The supposed love of freedom whether to engage with Services or not maybe doesn’t actually exist!”

“Treatment services in general have become much more recovery-focussed since the Pilot went live and there is a lot more structure to all aspects of the service. We’ve seen two of our own initiatives take off: the six week preparation package relating to residential rehabs that went mainstream  last year and the Merlin Roundhouse Project that also went live as a result of the launch of ARC: something that maybe wouldn’t have been as easy without the changes. It seems like the Recovery 4em needs always to think outside the box to meet the need to help develop Services!”

Emil Brown, Recovery Representative and PbR Pilot Board Member for Recovery4em Wakefield District

“I think more structure is needed when in treatment for any addiction, mental health, learning disabilities. I was very scared of being took out of my comfort zone, but now I am glad I have. I have become a recovery rep, done training courses at Castleford hospital, doing the Merlin Roundhouse, come off my script off Subutex and you get a new challenge to take on and prove to yourself you can do it. So yes PbR has worked for me and can work for other service users” 

Vicki Laverick, Recovery Representative at Turning Point’s Castleford CDT Service

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