Grasping the nettle of alcohol and other drugs workforce development

An article by Dr Steve Brinksman, SMMGP Clinical Director

As SMMGP went about its business over the past few years, we were aware of the growing need to broaden our scope in the complex and ever-changing world of drug and alcohol treatment and to grasp the nettle of workforce development in a more structured way.

The combination of SMMGP’s long-held passion for our work, now including FDAP and its accreditation system based on competency, provides a significant, independent, sector-led group that will harness the skills, talent, energy and ideas within the drug and alcohol treatment field. Our aim is to contribute to maximising the ability of a workforce that strives to improve recovery outcomes for those experiencing problems with alcohol and/or other drugs.

Members across both groups include treatment providers, professional and membership organisations, expert citizens, sector skills councils and we have close links with key stakeholders. Strategic leadership is provided by an executive team with many years’ experience in the sector to play a key role and maintain a profile at national level and in key policy fora.

Our vision is to work to protect the provision of high quality, effective services to individuals and families who are experiencing problems caused by the use of alcohol and other drugs, by a robust system of accredited practitioners who work to a Code of Conduct.

We will support workforce development within the sector as we have always done, but now also via the FDAP tried-and-tested system of accreditation based on competency. Starting with the launch of our new website later this month, we will support all our members by providing annual targeted CPD, including clinical updates, themed newsletters, and online learning (e-modules, podcasts and webinars).

This will ensure an alcohol and drug workforce that is competent, confident, skilled and demonstrating evidence-based practice and continuing professional development.

We recognise that the alcohol and other drugs treatment sector is interconnected across public, private and third sectors spanning employment, health, housing, social work and care, and criminal justice and we will maintain levels of involvement in these areas via existing and new partnerships.

We look forward with enthusiasm to supporting the workforce in new and innovative ways in the future.

– Dr Steve Brinksman
SMMGP Clinical Lead