Drinking among young people is in ‘sharp decline’

The University of Sheffield has published a new report exploring the ‘sharp decline’ in rates of youth drinking.

Based on previously available public data, “Youth Drinking in Decline” brings together information from two recent surveys to present a picture of the downturn in alcohol use among young people. The report found a “significant decline” in drinking patterns amongst children and young people in England, mirrored across the UK.

It also revealed that:

  • Among 16-17 year-olds in England, the proportion who reported drinking fell from 88% in 2001 to 65% in 2016
  • Over the same period, the decline in drinking for 16-24 year-olds fell from 90% to 78%.
  • The proportion of 8-12 year-olds who have ever had an alcoholic drink fell from 25% in 2002 to 4% in 2016
  • Amongst 11-15 year-olds, the same figure fell from 61% in 2003 to 38% in 2016

The figures suggest more young people are becoming aware of harms caused by drinking and are choosing to abstain from alcohol.

However, policy chiefs are urging services to remember that “youth drinking has not gone away” and to continue spreading a message on harm prevention. Find out more about the report and read about the risks of under-age drinking.

Spectrum wins at the Nursing Times Workforce Awards

Spectrum was proud to win the “Best Wellbeing and Staff Engagement initiative” Award at the Nursing Times Workforce Awards on 4th October.

This award for our Workforce Wellness Programme is a fantastic endorsement of the commitment Spectrum has to Staff Health & Wellbeing, which is one of our business priorities.

The Workforce Wellness Programme offers in-depth ‘Wellness Checks’ to over 1000 staff across Spectrum and two partner organisations, Wakefield Council and Wakefield Clinical Commissioning Group. Each Wellness Check gives staff greater opportunity to take control of their health and make changes, from losing weight to quitting smoking.

The Wellness Programme is open to all staff at Spectrum and our partner organisations Wakefield Council and Wakefield CCG and offers a one-to-one, hour-long consultation which helps to build a picture of a person’s health status.The in-depth Wellness assessment includes: basic body measurements, blood pressure checks, body composition, blood sample (this will be a simple finger-prick test), a lung function test and a physical test.

Our Programme was commended by Nursing Times judges, who praised the Wellness Programme for being “owned by staff” and aligning with Public Health England’s national strategy on health and wellbeing. Since beginning in November 2016, the project has supported over 700 employees across the Wakefield District to access Wellness Checks. Staff also have the opportunity to:

  • Gain a better understanding of their health and wellbeing
  • Access free advice on making lifestyle changes
  • Each member of staff receives a personalised health report

The Workforce Wellness Programme also aims to increase staff engagement with support services and create a more “open” culture around wellness, encouraging staff to take an active role in looking after their health, share their progress and motivate others.

Are you going Sober for October?

This month, Spectrum is supporting “Sober for October” – the national campaign to raise money for Macmillan Cancer Support by encouraging casual drinkers to cut back on alcohol.

Giving up alcohol can have many health benefits and can contribute to better quality sleep, brighter skin and increased energy – as well as helping you to save money!

To get involved this year, you can:

Thousands of people in the UK went ‘sober for October’ last year. Some people find that the benefits from cutting down, even temporarily, can lead to long-term changes in their drinking habits in the future. Reducing your alcohol intake can also contribute to:

  • Deeper, more nourishing sleep
  • Increased energy and focus
  • Improvements in memory
  • Brighter, clearer skin
  • Weight loss

Sober for October raises funds for Macmillan Cancer Support, helping cancer patients and their families to live well for longer. To download posters and resources,  take a look at online for more information.

‘Sober for October’ is aimed at social drinkers and may not be suitable for everyone.

If you are worried about your alcohol intake, please seek advice from a GP or contact one of Spectrum’s local clinics before attempting to stop drinking.

Spectrum launches Consent campaign for Sexual Health Week

During Sexual Health Week, a national campaign led by the Family Planning Association (FPA), Spectrum Community Health is raising awareness of the important topic of ‘consent’. The campaign runs from Monday 24th September until Sunday 30th September.

Consent Crossroads’ is a local campaign by Spectrum to support people to seek consent correctly and understanding the meaning of “yes” and “no”. This includes understanding non-verbal signals that can sometimes feel like a grey area. An online campaign page has been setup to guide the public on what might constitute “Yes” and “No” responses, what to do if people feel unsure, a help page with links to other support organisations, a consent quiz (testing people’s understanding of consent) and a powerful true story ‘Sophie Said No’, which addresses some of the issues with non-consent and how it can impact people. Information and activities can be accessed on Spectrum’s website www.sexual-health.co.uk.

Spectrum’s Relationships and Sex Education (RSE) team will deliver a number of lessons into schools during Sexual Health Week to classes of up to 30 young people across Wakefield, Barnsley and Wigan and Leigh.

Andi Cope, Spectrum’s RSE Programme Lead said:

“The Spectrum Relationships and Sex Education Programme contains very important content on sexual violence, sexual harassment and consent so we are delighted that Sexual Health Week 2018 focuses on our local priorities. Young people can be extremely vulnerable and so encouraging confidence and conversation around consent is the basis of building the skills needed to navigate the seeking and giving of consent.”

Spectrum is also highlighting the importance of consent for vulnerable adults and those facing domestic abuse. Spectrum’s Campaign truck will be in Barnsley on Wednesday 26th September, so members of the public to learn more about consent, as well as have private discussions with anyone who has concerns. Also at our campaigns vehicle will be Barnsley Sexual Abuse and Rape Crisis Services (bsarcs), Barnsley Independent Domestic Abuse Services (IDAS) and Targeted Youth Support teams. The online help page signposts to support groups for anyone who is at risk.

Belinda Loftus, Cluster Head of Spectrum’s Sexual Health Services said:

“We are happy to support Sexual Health Week 2018 as consent is an important part of any sexual relationship. Nobody should feel pressured into sexual activity if they are feeling unsure and Spectrum can signpost people to partner organisations if they need help. If anyone wants to test their understanding of consent, the Consent quiz is available on our website.”

You can follow our consent Crossroads Campaign activity on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram by following @spectrumsharp

More information can be found on www.sexual-health.co.uk

If you would like to get in touch with us regarding this campaign please email pr@spectrum-cic.nhs.uk



Wakefield charity GASPED receives a lifeline from Spectrum

Spectrum Community Health CIC has extended a lifeline to GASPED, a highly regarded Wakefield-based charity which supports the families of people affected by drug and/or alcohol misuse. GASPED had been facing closure following a significant reduction in the funding it receives.

Under the new partnership arrangement, GASPED will see funding secured for a further 18 months from 1st October 2018. Spectrum, a not-for-profit social enterprise which also has its roots in Wakefield, provides a number of substance misuse services across the north of England: Wakefield, North Yorkshire, York, County Durham, South Tyneside and within a number of health and justice settings. Spectrum also leads the Wakefield-arm of the Big Lottery-funded West Yorkshire Finding Independence project, which is aimed at supporting some of the most vulnerable people in the district.

Supporting vulnerable people

Dr. Linda Harris, Chief Executive of Spectrum Community Health CIC, said:

“GASPED is a much-loved charity with local roots which delivers support to vulnerable families and in so doing, shines a much-needed light on the plight of parents and families who are tackling the impact of substance misuse and its wider ramifications both in the home and the wider community. Spectrum CIC is proud to be supporting GASPED and is making an immediate investment into the charity, which will be immediately be put to good use, allowing the organisation to maintain ‘business as usual’ for their beneficiaries and enabling it to continue to deliver its vital community work.

“GASPED complements Spectrum’s substance misuse services and we will be working closely with their small team of expert counsellors who, along with their established network of skilled volunteers, deliver evidence-based care and support for a population that Spectrum and our established partners already reach out to.”

GASPED (Greater Awareness and Support for People Encountering Drugs) was founded in 1995 by Kristine Smith whose son was both heroin and alcohol-dependent. The organisation started as a small support group in Kristine’s living room and grew to becoming a registered charity in June 1998. The organisation provides evidence-based, person-centred counselling support that includes access to round-the-clock help and advice.

GASPED’s services include:

  • A 24-hour confidential helpline – 0845 146 0002
  • Drop-in service for people who need help and support immediately
  • Person-centered counselling
  • Complementary therapies
  • Respite days out
  • Hypnotherapy, Emotional Freedom Technique and Nero Linguistic Programming
  • A network of family and carer community-based support groups
  • Family Prison Support Service
  • Family community rehab supporting families whilst their loved one undertakes a community detox.
  • Training in life and coping skills

Spectrum and GASPED have had a longstanding working alliance, already working together on a number of drug and alcohol care pathways through a variety of services and wellbeing programmes across the Wakefield District.

Stan Foster, Operations Manager at GASPED, said: “We are extremely grateful that Spectrum have stepped in and ensured that many families and individuals benefit from our support. GASPED has a fantastic reputation in Wakefield, reaching out to some of the most deprived areas in the district. We can now continue to deliver a unique service to parents, partners, families and carers who care for or are affected by a loved one’s drug and/or alcohol misuse.

“Spectrum and GASPED will soon be announcing a programme of developments for parents and families affected by substance misuse and other traumatic events. We can see many opportunities for our partnership.”

Spectrum Learn & Develop launches

Spectrum Learn & Develop launches

Substance Misuse training to extend under transfer from RCGP to Spectrum Learn & Develop

Healthcare professionals nationally are set to benefit from an exciting new venture by the RCGP (Royal College of General Practitioners), who will transfer the management and coordination of its popular Substance Misuse and Associated Health (SMAH) courses to Spectrum Learn & Develop Ltd on 1st October 2018.

Under the transfer arrangement, Spectrum Learn & Develop (SLD), a training subsidiary of Spectrum Community Health CIC, will become the sole provider of the four existing RCGP accredited SMAH courses. The aim of the transfer is not only to effectively manage and coordinate SMAH training but to also extend the reach to more healthcare professionals across the country.

The College will continue to be involved with the programme as a key stakeholder and will accredit the service, so trainees can be assured that SMAH will retain the high-quality standard for which it is known. There will be no initial changes to the delivery of the SMAH courses: trainers will continue to deliver these courses using the same structure, supported by the same clinical expertise and leadership.

The RCGP has been running Substance Misuse and Associated Health (SMAH) courses since [insert year] and these accredited courses have already benefited over 10,000 healthcare professionals in the UK. The courses can be linked to CPD hours for appraisal and revalidation. To ensure a strong focus on the management and delivery of SMAH courses, Spectrum CIC has launched its new training arm: Spectrum Learn & Develop Ltd (SLD). From 1st October 2018, the SLD team will deliver:

• RCGP Certificate in the Management of Alcohol Problems in Primary Care Level 1
• RCGP Certificate in the Management of Drug Misuse Part 1
• RCGP Certificate in the Management of Drug Misuse Part 2
• RCGP Management of Drug Misuse Re-Certification

Dr. Linda Harris, Chief Executive of Spectrum Community Health CIC, said: “We have a long-standing and successful relationship with the RCGP, with SMAH courses led, designed and delivered by senior clinicians already working in Spectrum CIC. As our expertise and experience has grown over the past few years, the time was right to launch our new training organisation – Spectrum Learn & Develop Ltd – and what better way to do this than with a fantastic new partnership with the RCGP.

“We are delighted to be able to host this nationally recognised training and work with stakeholders including RCGP, Public Health England and NHS England to ensure the SMAH Programme develops and flourishes.”

The July 2018 Crime Survey for England and Wales found the following for Drug Misuse:

• Around 1 in 11 (9.0%) adults aged 16 to 59 had taken a drug in the last year. This equated to around 3.0 million people, and was similar to 2016/17(8.5%).
• Around 1 in 5 (19.8%) adults aged 16 to 24 had taken a drug in the last year. This proportion was more than double that of the wider age group, and equates to around 1.2 million people
• Class A drug use among 16 to 24 year olds has been increasing since 2011/12

Estimates of the number of adults with alcohol dependency in England were published by Public Health England for the first time in March 2017. The findings from this study suggested that there were 595,131 individuals aged 18 and over drinking at dependent levels and potentially in need of specialist treatment. This is 1.4% of the adult population (95% confidence interval 485,504 to 776,743).

Individuals who had presented with a dependency on opiates made up the largest proportion of the total numbers in treatment in 2016-17 (146,536, 52%). Despite an overall fall in numbers in treatment for non-opiate substances, the number of individuals presenting with crack cocaine problems (not being used alongside opiates) increased by 23% (2,980 to 3,657), this follows a smaller increase of 3% in crack cocaine presentations between 2014-15 and 2015-16. The increase was seen in nearly all age groups.

Dr. Nat Wright, Managing Director at Spectrum Learn & Develop Ltd, said: “Tackling substance misuse remains a national priority and along with that is the need for skilled healthcare professionals, with up-to-date learning and training. By working with the RCGP and providing substance misuse training and continuous professional development, we can equip healthcare professionals with the tools they need to help people with substance misuse issues.”

To book SMAH training courses with Spectrum Learn & Develop:
• visit http://sld.spectrumhealth.org.uk/rcgp-courses/
• call 01924 311405 or email: smah@spectrum-cic.nhs.uk

International Overdose Awareness Day

31st August marked International Overdose Awareness Day.

Accidental overdose is a growing problem. In 2017, 3,756 people in England and Wales lost their lives to drug overdose – the highest figure since comparative records began in 1993. The Office for National Statistics estimates that of that number, almost 80% of deaths due to drug misuse are accidental. This makes it even more important to raise awareness around drug safety and tackle stigma around addiction.

To help raise awareness of risks around drug overdose, Spectrum shared online messages to promote this year’s campaign and reduce the stigma linked to drug-related deaths. Find out more and add your support to the campaign by downloading free resources.

International Overdose Awareness Day is also a time to remember loved ones who have lost their lives or been seriously injured due to drug overdose.

If you’re struggling with substance misuse or need help and advice on using prescribed medications safely, contact your local Spectrum service for support.

Spectrum hosts third Recovery College

On Thursday 30th August, Spectrum was pleased to host the third Recovery College event in Wakefield.

Held in Wakefield Town Hall, “A Celebration of Recovery” was a learning and networking event aiming to showcase the best of recovery services across Yorkshire and the North East.

Spectrum welcomed over 50 guests to Wakefield Town Hall, as well as partners from Sheffield Hallam University, Aspire Drug & Alcohol Services, Turning Point, CGL and many more. By bringing together academics, service users and treatment providers, the third Recovery College event was a fantastic opportunity to share best practice and discuss challenges facing the recovery community.

Speakers discussed a range of topics including Nurture, the ‘ABCD’ approach, sustainable recovery and the launch of HMP Holme House as a drugs recovery prison.


Recovery College

The Recovery College was established in 2017 and is focused on a central partnership between Spectrum, Aspire Drug and Alcohol Services and Sheffield Hallam University.

Dr Linda Harris, Spectrum’s Chief Executive, said: “The Recovery College is a great opportunity for knowledge sharing. The college brings practitioners from a variety of community and secure settings to learn together, along with academics and researchers in the field.”

Find out more about the Recovery College.

Spectrum celebrates at the Recovery Games 2018

Over the past 12 months, Spectrum has been developing our expertise in substance misuse across the North of England.

As well as providing clinical services for people struggling with drugs and alcohol, we’re passionate about celebrating visible recovery – including in secure environments, where we provide non-clinical Recovery services.

Our commitment to Recovery led us the annual Recovery Games In August, taking place in Hatfield’s Outdoor Activity Centre. Spectrum staff from across the North West joined service users to compete in a range of challenges throughout the day, including a kayak relay, archery competition, Colour Run and climbing wall activity. Spectrum’s Head of Healthcare in HMP Kirkham said, “Everyone at this event has been affected by addiction, either through their own experience or that of friends and family. Coming together for an event like this is inspiring and shows that recovery is possible and achievable.”

Hosted by Aspire Drug and Alcohol Services, the annual Games are one of the most popular events in the Recovery calendar, inviting hundreds of guests from across the UK to compete each year.

Spectrum didn’t walk away with the trophy this time, but we loved taking part – we’ll be back next year!

Sun, Sand and (no) STIs

This summer Spectrum Community Health CIC are reaching out to holiday goers and asking them to remember five top-tips to protect themselves from sexually transmitted infections (STIs).

Holidays often provide an opportunity to meet new people whilst feeling free from social restraints and therefore can lead to increased sexual activity. To avoid STIs and ensure a clean bill of sexual health, people should visit a Spectrum clinic for STI testing before going on holiday.

Spectrum’s top-tips for reducing STI risk are:

  1. Visit a clinic for an STI test before going on holiday
  2. Pack plenty of condoms! – Be cautious of counterfeit brands abroad
  3. Carry a condom in your pocket/bag
  4. ALWAYS use a condom
  5. Visit a clinic for an STI test when you return

Belinda Loftus, Cluster Head of Spectrum Sexual Health services said, “We want to encourage people to visit a clinic for an STI test before going abroad and then again when they return, to stop symptoms from becoming more severe. To protect against STIs and unwanted pregnancy it is essential to pack plenty of condoms from the UK, this avoids the risk of purchasing fake, poor quality and potentially unsafe brands abroad.”

Spectrum clinics offer STI testing, information, support and free condoms* and cover the Wakefield, Barnsley and Wigan and Leigh districts.

Dr Tana Green, Clinical Lead, Wakefield Integrated Sexual Health said, “Chlamydia is the most common STI amongst both men and women, particularly amongst sexually active teenagers and young adults. Always using a condom is the best way to protect from STIs and if anyone is worried about possible symptoms they should visit their local Spectrum clinic.”

*People aged 16-24 can get free condoms through Spectrum’s C-Card scheme and can register for free at https://www.c-card.org.uk/wakefield/c-card.html

You can learn more about STIs and prevention services offered by Spectrum by visiting our website www.sexual-health.co.uk