The next issue of DDN will be out on 7 April — make sure you send letters and comments to firstname.lastname@example.org by Wednesday 23 March to be included.
Show me the cure
I was very interested to read your report on the Creating Recovery conference (DDN, February, page 18), and welcome any initiative that looks to challenge stigma and celebrate recovery – especially one that comes with an announcement of new much-needed funding available to help community groups.
I was however incredulous at the reporting of the comments made by Benjamin Lloyd Stormont Mancroft, the 3rd Baron Mancroft. In your report you quote Lord Mancroft as saying: ‘The healthcare profession can’t cure addiction. Doctors do not understand addiction – it’s not in their radar.’ While the healthcare profession may not have all the answers to ‘cure’ addiction, I’m yet to encounter one type of treatment that can. A person’s recovery from addiction comes around from a combination of many factors, usually beginning with their desire for recovery, but aided and supported by a range of services including healthcare professionals. Doctors might not be perfect but are a group of well-trained individuals working with evidence-based treatment, who are often the first step on an individual’s recovery journey. To write them off in one sweeping statement is incredibly arrogant and ill informed.
Lord Mancroft went on to assert that the NHS was the ‘most dangerous dealer in the world, for prescription drugs’ and said that after ‘30 years of very close observation’ he had ‘never seen anyone benefit from substitute prescribing for any but a very short length of time’. His Lordship has previous for making sweeping statements that are not backed up by any evidence, and his comments on nurses a few years ago earned him criticism from all quarters including his own party leader who said he should ‘think more carefully before opening his mouth’. It seems he has not paid heed to this.
Baron Mancroft is as entitled to his views as any other service user and his inherited privileged position in society has given him a platform to make them, but it is important that they are not reported with the same weight as those of knowledgeable professionals. Unless, of course, he would like to provide the evidence to support them.
David Prentice, via email
Give us a clue
‘There are figures on both sides of recovery and human rights/harm reduction who share views and are looking for points of connection and trying to collaborate,’ says Mat Southwell in your interview (DDN, February, page 17).
This may be true, but the evidence in my area is very thin on the ground. Our attempts at a fully inclusive service user group have gone out of the window since our members became preoccupied over whether we’re a ‘user group’ a ‘service user group’ or a ‘recovery group’. Personally I don’t think it matters, but to many of our members the label has become more important than what we actually do. We’re in danger of degenerating into an unstructured mess and losing all our members.
So if there are ‘figures’ on any side who have advice on connecting and collaborating with those of us out there struggling to keep service user involvement alive, please give us some pointers!
Jane, by email
Have a star
‘What is the REC-CAP?’ ask the authors in their article, ‘How far have you come?’ (DDN, February, page 14). What indeed. So taking elements of established engagement, outcome and recovery measures can create a flexible online recovery mapping measure, can it?
Am I the only one to feel slightly depressed by the idea of a ‘clinical recovery tool’? We used to talk to our clients and make sure they had the right key worker. Now we are expected to process them and send them away with a great big recovery star – sorry, a ‘visual map of recovery wellbeing’.
Paul Ainsley, by email