Stepping up

Stepping up article in ddn magazine on rehab and detoxWhen it comes to supporting people away from dependency and towards recovery, detox and rehab services have a vital and life-changing role to play. The time people spend as a resident at a detox or rehab service can be the first step in real and lasting change that transforms their lives. 

Change Grow Live has been working with a range of providers to create a more open, accessible route into recovery as part of our National Detox and Rehab Framework. In 2023, the framework expanded to include an online portal that allows people to fully explore their detox and rehab options, and have informed conversations about their journey and personal goals. 

Our aim is to make sure that rehab and detox aren’t seen as last-chance options. We want to ensure that these interventions are recognised for their life-changing potential, and that the people we support are empowered to make choices that will enable that change – and we are welcoming collaboration from across the sector to help achieve this. 


The foundations of the national framework were laid back in 2017, with the aim of putting power and choice in the hands of the people we exist to serve. Our vision was to create an overarching framework where people could find a detox or rehab option that was right for them and feel safe in the knowledge that their chosen service offered the highest quality of care.   

The initial steps involved convening a multidisciplinary panel, which included doctors, nurses, operational directors, people with lived experience, and procurement specialists. Together, they established a set of standards for providers, drawing inspiration from the standards of the Care Quality Commission and incorporating key questions about the living wage, policies and processes, staff training, and feedback from people with lived experience. 

Everyone was in agreement that the framework must prioritise dignity and respect for the people accessing these services, with the framework taking a position against controversial measures such as strip searches of residents. The framework became an open invitation to service providers across the sector, encouraging them to join together in a shared set of commitments and standards. The result was a network of providers offering a wide range of high-quality detox and rehab options, all with the assurance that residents would be treated with the dignity and respect that they deserve. 


Ensuring quality was an important first step, but the national framework is also about empowering people to make their own choices and achieve their own goals in a way that works for them. In 2023 we launched our online national framework portal – an interactive platform where providers and people accessing support can explore detox and rehab options, and have informed conversations about them. The portal features an online directory of rehab and detox services, including information about location and wait times, an overview of the support on offer, and photos of each service’s facilities.  

The national framework webpage draws on the success we’ve already seen with the West Midlands framework, a regional network of providers made accessible via a central online portal hosted by Change Grow Live. The West Midlands Framework has already been well received by both providers and people accessing support services, and has supported more than 800 referrals since June 2022.


We’re now replicating this model on a national scale. People across the country will be able to fully explore their detox and rehab options and make more informed decisions about their journey and personal goals, while providers will be supported through the referral process in a more efficient and streamlined way. Within Change Grow Live, our staff are supported by our national lead, and have the opportunity to connect, share experience, and ask questions via a regular national forum. 

As we respond to the challenges of a changing health and social care landscape, partnership working and collaboration will help us to make sure that no one who needs our support is left behind. 

By working together, we can dispel the idea that detox and rehab are last-chance options for when all other avenues of support have been exhausted. Instead, these services should be considered as viable options at various stages of an individual’s journey, and detox services can also play an important role in enabling people to stabilise on their community delivered treatment options. 


Improving treatment outcomes, reducing drug-related harm and death and increasing the number of people in treatment are at the heart of the UK’s ten-year drug strategy – including a 2 per cent target for uptake of rehab interventions by people engaged in community treatment services.  

Innovative partnerships like the national framework can play a crucial role in breaking down barriers to treatment and ensuring we reach these targets. Between November 2022 and October 2023, we have already seen five partnerships in which Change Grow Live deliver community treatment services achieve this 2 per cent target. Across the same period, we saw more than 2 per cent of people engaged in community treatment with us access an inpatient detox. 

Crucially, the framework is continuing to evolve and grow to help us meet and surpass these milestones. We would be delighted to hear from any detox or rehab providers who are interested in joining the national framework, or from any professionals who simply want to find out more about this way of working. You can find more information about the National Framework on our website, or get in touch with me by email. 

Together, we are committed to collectively shaping a future where detox and rehab are seen as empowering steps on the path to recovery.

Charity Easton is director of integrated practice at Change Grow Live,

We value your input. Please leave a comment, you do not need an account to do this but comments will be moderated before they are displayed...