NHS vs. Private Alcohol Rehab

Published On: June 10, 2015

If you or a loved one is addicted to alcohol, you may be slightly confused by treatment options available. As an honest taxpayer, you may assume treatment is freely available through your local NHS Trust. After all, alcoholism is a ‘disease’ requiring treatment like any other.

Well.. isn’t it?

If you’ve sought help through your NHS doctor you will shortly discover your belief was misguided.

In short, the NHS has demonstrated an unwillingness to invest in proven but expensive alcohol treatments. Such treatments typically include ‘residential’ rehabilitation. This is when alcoholics move into the centre whilst undergoing treatment. Residential treatment means addicts are removed from ‘triggers’ of addiction existing in everyday life.

Government ministers have gone as far as to describe residential rehab as an ‘expensive luxury’. This is despite Government research revealing the effectiveness of residential rehabilitation.

The key disadvantage of private rehab is cost. Even a ‘cheap’ shared room programme could easily set you back £4000 for a four-week programme. Some addicts simply cannot find this level of funding.

Ins and outs of community support

If you struggle to afford private fees then going through the NHS may be your only option. You must contact your GP in order to initiate this process. NHS referrals take on average 16 months to process. Some addicts literally die whilst waiting for admission. Before you become eligible you must first demonstrate you have exhausted all free or ‘community’ based initiatives. In England, you must request help from your local Drug and Alcohol Action Team (“DAAT”). In Wales, this is known as Strategic Coordination Teams (“SCT”). The level of care received by such groups has been widely criticised not least due the lack of funding.

Community initiatives mean addicts are not removed from ‘bad influences’ existing in their everyday life. Addicts are required to live within close proximity to other addicts who are not receiving treatment. Relapse is thus likely. Community initiatives operated by DAAT often promote ‘harm reduction’ or ‘moderation management’ rather than total abstinence. Government funded programmes often measure success in terms of reduction, not total recovery. Whilst such methods do have their virtues, they may not be helpful for chronic alcoholics.

When funding becomes available…

Once you’ve endured ‘community options’ for over a year you might become eligible to attend residential rehabilitation via NHS funding. I stress the word might. The NHS does not own any residential rehabilitation centres itself. All rehabs are outsourced to private centres. The NHS opts for the cheapest rehabs on offer. This invariably means shared accommodation. If you’re an alcoholic you are required to share living quarters with heroin and crack addicts. This may be uncomfortable for some. We must stress even after 15 months has lapsed the NHS is not required to invest in your residential rehab. The decision is put to a board you may refuse your application. Funding is patchy depending on where you live in the UK. In 2014 around 100 people were admitted into residential rehabilitation. This suggests NHS rehab funding is akin to a lottery.

Virtues of private alcohol rehab

Private alcohol rehab services are accessible within 24 hours. The speed of admissions is thus a major advantage which private treatment holds over its NHS counterpart.

A list of advantages gained by those seeking rehabilitation services through private means include:

  • Greater confidentiality
  • Speedy admissions
  • Better qualified staff
  • All treatment received through same central location
  • Better aftercare
  • Optional en-suite and single room admissions
  • More intensive treatment
  • Patients removed from their community thus taken away from ‘bad influences’
  • Focus on abstinence rather than ‘harm reduction’

About Rehab 4 Alcoholism

Rehab 4 Alcoholism offers safe and secure alcohol addiction treatment throughout the United Kingdom and abroad. Centres are typically residential in nature and offer a diverse range of treatment plans depending on the severity of addiction and personal wishes of the patient. Please call Rehab 4 Alcoholism today by dialling 0800 111 4108 or complete our enquiry form.

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