When the National Health Service (NHS) came to be in the 1940s, it promised the benefit of free and comprehensive health care to every UK citizen. Unfortunately, the system has not lived up to all of the hype. Nowhere is this more clearly seen than in the arena of drug and alcohol rehab. The average alcoholic finds very little help, if any at all, through the NHS.
Before explaining what the NHS offers, we must be fair in explaining that the system is not equipped to handle things like alcohol addiction. They have enough on their plate worrying about more prevalent illnesses, diseases, and injuries. To expect the NHS to provide comprehensive alcohol rehab is mere fantasy.
What the NHS Offers
Contrary to what you may have heard, the NHS does not operate any alcohol rehab centres. They do offer outpatient programs and temporary detox through a variety of facilities around the country. However, these programs are hardly the equivalent of an intense, 12-week rehabilitation program offered by a private centre.
Outpatient programs typically consist of a combination of one-on-one counselling, group counselling and, where appropriate, limited treatment by a physician. Programs involve the alcoholic visiting a facility once or twice a week for a couple of hours.
When the NHS does offer treatment through a residential treatment program, it is always via a referral to a private clinic. In other words, the NHS does not operate the clinic. Rather, it has a working relationship with the private clinic to whom it can send qualified patients.
Alcoholics and alcohol abusers who take advantage of NHS services usually do so because of a lack of financial resources. In light of that, here are some things you need to know about NHS referrals to private rehab clinics:
- Availability – An NHS referral to a private rehab centre is usually a last resort. Alcoholics must have tried every other means available before the NHS will go this route. Simply put, it is very difficult to get an NHS referral for a private clinic.
- Financing – Programs at private alcohol rehab centres cost money. For the alcoholic who cannot afford it, NHS financing may be available on a limited basis. Nevertheless, trust us when we say NHS financing is as difficult to come by as the referral itself.
- Waiting Lists – Even when you can get a referral and financing, the NHS waiting list for alcohol rehab is a long one. Depending on the severity of your alcohol habit, it may be too late by the time your name gets to the top of the list.
The Private Option Is Better
The official position of Alcohol Help is that private alcohol rehab is a better option. Although you will still have to pay for it, you do not need a referral and there are no waiting lists. In light of that it seems financing is a minor issue. Keep in mind that private health insurance often pays the cost of alcohol rehab.
If you do not have private health insurance, you might be able to encourage family members and friends to pool their financial resources on your behalf. There is also commercial financing if you or a loved one has good credit. Suffice it to say, where there’s a will there’s also a way.
Please contact Alcohol Help today if you or a loved one is struggling with alcohol abuse or addiction. We want to help. However, we cannot do anything for you until you contact us.