Doctors blame health chiefs for dropping award-winning alcohol treatment service

Dr Arun Aggarwal. Dr Arun Aggarwal.

Saturday, April 19, 2014
8:00 AM

An award-winning Huntingdonshire-based alcohol treatment service has been pulled despite claims GPs want it to continue.

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Patients will no longer be able to access The Gainsborough Foundation (GF) after the withdrawal of NHS funding, a decision which has baffled doctors and GF staff.

Surgeries in the Hunts Health Local Commissioning Group wanted to continue to use the foundation and its services were to be paid for from savings made elsewhere, a pot of money the group was, in principle, free to use as it saw fit.

But an intervention from the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) is said to have blocked the move.

Hunts Health chairman Simon Brown said the use of GF had been unanimously supported by its board.

“We are devastated by the Cambridgeshire executive preventing us from continuing to use this service,” he added.

Dr Arun Aggarwal, GF’s medical lead and a Ramsey GP, said the decision over-rode common sense and fairness to practices which had worked hard to make savings to spend on improving patient care.

A spokesman for Cambridgeshire and Peterborough CCG said it appreciated the work that Hunts Health had done “to help the Gainsborough team”.

But is said that from April last year, the CCG was no longer responsible for commissioning alcohol services, which was now the responsibility of Cambridgeshire County Council.

A meeting of the CCG was due to take place this week when GF supporters said they hoped it would rethink its position regarding its funding.

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