Save the Highland's Beechwood House DP from closure and Rehab Unit from downsizing

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The petitioners hereby call upon the Highland Council to revoke their decision to withdraw annual funding of £200,000 from CrossReach's Beechwood House Designated Place and Rehabilitation Unit in Inverness. In doing so they are causing the closure of a vital and life saving resource for individuals who struggle with addiction to alcohol.

On 18 January 2010, reported that figures examined by the Neilson Company on behalf of Health Scotland show that Scots are drinking 25% more alcohol per head than the English and Welsh, thereby out drinking their other UK counterparts by an average of two and a half pints or glasses of wine per week.

In an independent study by Health Economists at York University, shows that the cost of alcohol misuse to Scotland's public services, economy and society at a mid range estimate is £3.56 billion per year, equivalent to about £900 for every Scottish adult.The Goverment's "key weapon" in battling alcohol misuse is to set a minimum price for sales of alcohol. This is not enough!!

Units like Beechwood House save and turn lives around, providing a key service to people in the highlands.The esteemed First Minister himself held Beechwood House up as a flagship on how issues of alchol misuse and addiction should be addressed. Lives will be lost if it is closed, despite protestations that other measures have been put in place.

In the Scottish Parliament on Mon 18th January 2010, MSP Dave Thomson put forward the motion *S3M-5543: Decision to Close the Beechwood House DP—That the Parliament notes with dismay the decision to close the designated place (DP) at Beechwood House in Inverness, which, for 19 years, has been open to over 900 referrals annually by the police, the NHS and other agencies for people struggling with the impact of alcohol; notes that the Beechwood House DP provides, as an alternative to police custody, a safe place for recovery and rehabilitation for those deemed drunk and incapable and is one of only two in the whole of Scotland, of which the HM Inspectorate of Constabulary for Scotland thematic inspection report of October 2008, Medical Services for people in police custody, noted "Throughout the Scottish police service both are considered to be examples of good practice that could usefully be extended across Scotland."; considers that the decision by the Highland Alcohol and Drugs Partnership to remove support from the Beechwood House DP without identifying any alternative options will have a dramatic knock-on effect on the NHS and on the police service, which will be forced to use police cells and other resources to manage drunk and incapable people who need only a safe place to recover, and, finally, calls on the board of NHS Highland, which received a 45% increase in funding in 2009-10 (to £2,267,711) to deal with alcohol misuse, to now urgently consider taking responsibility for the DP as recommended in the 2009 Scottish Government report, Managing the Needs of Drunk and Incapable People in Scotland: a Literature Review and Needs Assessment.


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