Expanding access to Residential Rehabilitation in Scotland

Funding released to drugs projects.

More than £11 million has been awarded to two drugs projects to enable them to expand their residential rehabilitation service as part of a commitment to increase the number of beds in Scotland by 50% to 650 by 2026.

River Garden Auchincruive in South Ayrshire will use the funding over the next five years to increase capacity from seven to 56 residents and build a unit to meet the specific needs of women.

NHS Lothian will receive around £5 million to create capacity to support around 600 additional placements over five years at Lothian and Edinburgh Abstinence Programme (LEAP) and increase capacity at the Ritson detoxification clinic from eight beds to 12. This will enable the board to develop a pathway to rehab for those using complex polysubstances and illicit benzodiazepines.

The funding is part of the additional £100 million announced as part of the National Mission to improve access to residential rehabilitation.

In a statement to Parliament on progress with Residential Rehabilitation, Minister for Drugs Policy Angela Constance outlined plans to ensure that by 2026, at least 1000 people are publically funded to go to rehab every year - a 300% increase on the number prior to the launch of the National Mission.

Drugs Policy Minister Angela Constance said:

“While there is much to be done to address our drug deaths crisis we are making changes to support people to access the treatment and recovery that is right for them.

“Our commitment to increase the number of publically funded places by 300% and the number of beds by 50% will provide options for those who can safely access and who want to access residential rehab.

“The funding announced for these latest projects comes from the additional £100 million we are investing in residential rehabilitation over the next five and we are determined every penny of that will make a difference.”

River Garden Chair William Smith said:

“All at River Garden are enormously grateful for the funding support from the Residential Rehabilitation Rapid Capacity Programme.

“This funding will enable the significant expansion of our residential capacity to create additional space for residents, and new staffing resource and facilities that specifically meet the needs of women.

“Existing residents come from across Scotland and we very much look forward to having the opportunity to help many more people sustainably recover from addiction in the beautiful setting and community of River Garden Auchincruive.”

General Manager of Royal Edinburgh Hospital and Associated Services David Pickering-Gummer said:

“The grant will allow the LEAP service to increase capacity by 40% and increase bed numbers in the Ritson Clinic by 50%, to allow for stabilisation and detoxification prior to transfer to LEAP. There will be a greater focus on vulnerable groups and we will employ peers with lived experience to act as ‘bridges’ between community services and rehab. We will also focus on strengthening aftercare provision.

“The team are particularly thrilled to see the ‘Peer Bridge Project’ being funded, which will open the doors a bit more widely to vulnerable groups in keeping with Scottish Government priorities. We are grateful to the Scottish Government and to the local Alcohol and Drug Partnerships for having the vision to fund plans which will make a real difference to the lives of patients and their families who are struggling with addiction.”


Improving pathways into, through and out of residential rehabilitation is a key part of the National Mission and to this end new guidance has been published by Scottish Government and the Residential Rehab Development Working Group. This was developed after consideration of the findings from Government surveys of Alcohol and Drug Partnerships and service providers.


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