Drug Deaths Taskforce response: cross government approach

Cross government response to the Drug Deaths Taskforce report, Changing Lives. It contains a cross government action plan, response to Taskforce recommendations and a stigma action plan.

12. Standards, guidance and inspection

Taskforce Recommendation: All services must be appropriately regulated, with standards and guidance developed, and should be subject to regular inspection to ensure safe, effective, accessible and high-quality services. The Scottish Government should work with Healthcare Improvement Scotland to expand the Medication Assisted Treatment (MAT) Standards to encompass all aspects of the National Specification and create overarching treatment and recovery standards.

Many aspects of alcohol and drug services are currently not regulated or inspected, as the health and social care inspectorates have statutory regimes which do not include scrutiny of care out with hospitals or registered care homes. We agree with the Taskforce that inspection would provide us with better information on where improvements are needed and highlight any failings, helping to improve services for those who use them.

Dame Sue Bruce has been appointed to Chair the Independent Review of Inspection, Scrutiny and Regulation (IRISR) in social care. It will look at how social care services are regulated and inspected across social care support services in Scotland and ensure scrutiny keeps up with an evolving landscape and changing skills required of the workforce. It will also consider the interactions with community health, and other services which support people. IRISR will also consider how regulation and inspection of social care and related services can deliver improved outcomes for people within a regulatory framework that meets the needs of the planned National Care Service.

In October 2022, IRISR launched a call for evidence to explore views on how inspection and regulation can ensure social care support services can continually improve now and in the future.

In order for inspection and regulation to be effective, there needs to be a set of standards against which services are measured. The Scottish Government will work with delivery partners including ADPs, Public Health Scotland and Healthcare Improvement Scotland as well as people with lived and living experience, to develop and implement overarching treatment and recovery guidance and standards for treatment services. New guidance and standards will incorporate and build on standards already in place and the implementation of pathways and standards for MAT and residential rehabilitation.


Email: Drugsmissiondeliveryteam@gov.scot

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