Detox clinics putting patients at risk in England, regulator finds

From BBC - November 30, 2017

People undergoing detox for alcohol or drug addiction are being put at risk by residential clinics in England - as a lot of the care provided is not safe or good quality, the regulator has found.

The Care Quality Commission based its findings on inspections of the 68 independent services over two years.

Nearly three-quarters were found to be failing in at least one of the fundamental standards of care.

The regulator said detoxification can be "difficult, unpleasant and risky".

Last year more than 2,600 people underwent medical detox in a residential rehabilitation service in England - about 1% of the total number being treated for drug and alcohol addiction.

Lasting around five to 10 days, detox can involve fits and hallucinations, as well as a risk of suicide or painkiller drug overdose.

Given this, Dr Paul Lelliott, from the CQC, said he was "deeply concerned" because many of the providers of these services in England are not following national clinical guidelines.

Safe care and treatment was where the most breaches were found, with 63% of clinics not meeting this standard when they were first inspected.

Staff were also handling medications incorrectly, administering drugs such as methadone and paracetamol without the right training or too often.

Many clinics were also not assessing safety risks before patients were admitted or following national guidance on how to treat people in withdrawal.

For example, in at least one case, the CQC found staff did not plan how they would manage a person's epileptic fits during their withdrawal, despite knowing they were at risk of having seizures.

Many staff were also not given full employment checks or sufficient training.

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