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Less than half of patients on Havering Council rehab schemes costing £800k successfully recover

PUBLISHED: 13:00 03 November 2017

A ban on street drinking in Romford town centre is now active. Picture: Brian Lawless/PA Archive/PA Images

A ban on street drinking in Romford town centre is now active. Picture: Brian Lawless/PA Archive/PA Images

Brian Lawless/PA Archive/PA Images

It costs Havering's taxpayers more than £4,000 to pay for a single person successfully treated by the borough's alcohol addiction services, new figures have revealed.

Freedom of Information requests to Havering Council revealed that the local authority spent a total of £884,009 on interventions for smokers and alcoholics in the 2015/16 financial year – the last period for which full data is available.

That year, Havering Council paid for 305 people to go through alcohol addiction treatment, at a total cost of £467,946.

But worryingly, only 109 people successfully reduced their alcohol intake as a result of these council-funded treatments – a success rate of just 35.7pc.

When those figures are broken down, it cost the council £4,239 to successfully reform each alcoholic.

When it comes to treating smokers, the borough did perform better.

A net spend of £416,063 was used to fund services to support 1,800 people in their attempts to give up cigarettes, and 707 succeeded.

This success rate of 39.2pc meant the borough only paid out £588 per successful quitter.

But the result is a massive decrease on the 69pc of smokers who successfully quit in the 2014/15 year according to a survey by the British Heart Foundation.

John O’Connell, TaxPayers’ Alliance chief executive, said: “Taxpayers have had enough of being told what to eat, drink and how to spend their leisure time.

“Those who do want to make lifestyle changes are free to do so if they choose - there is no need for bureaucrats to blow our taxes on good behaviour schemes, especially if they are not measured for cost effectiveness.

“Education and information will mean that people can make up their own minds without the need for expensive and meddlesome projects.”

The news comes at a time when Havering Council is also having to make up a £9million projected shortfall in its budget for the 2018/19 year.

To reach that target, a number of money-saving proposals will be suggested across a wide range of council services.

Havering Council did not respond to the Recorder’s request for comment in time for publication.

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