A NEW healthcare hub in Dumfries will offer walk-in care for people who use alcohol and drugs, especially those reluctant to use other services.
The Focus Wellness and Recovery Hub in Shirley Road in Lochside, in north-west Dumfries, opened this month. It will be open from 9.00am to 4.30pm Monday to Friday, with late opening to 7.00pm on Monday and Wednesday, to provide health care and support services to anyone using drugs or alcohol, or recovering from drug or alcohol use.
Services will include same-day prescribing, wound care, blood-borne virus testing, needle exchange, recovery therapy, support groups, advice, and referral on to other health and social care services if needed. People can use the services without an appointment and without needing a referral from a GP.
Provost of Dumfries Tracy Little opened the centre officially on Friday 20th January 2023. She said: “It’s a privilege to be here to open this amazing facility. Here you’ll find a dedicated team who are committed to helping individuals, families and communities achieve full recovery and freedom from addiction. Sadly this is needed, but thankfully it’s here.”
Justin Murray is the general manager for mental health services at NHS Dumfries and Galloway, and he says: “It’s an open-door service, which means it’s designed to reduce the barriers for people to get into treatment and recovery. It’ll be a welcoming and friendly environment, and the aim is to attract people to access treatment and recovery support where they feel valued, and can talk to people about the issues they’re facing with drug or alcohol use.
“There’s a lot of stigma attached to people who have these issues, and we’re hoping we can overcome that and encourage people to come in who might not use more traditional services.”
Beverley Walls is a lived experience health care support worker at the Wellness and Recovery Hub, and she says: “Part of my role here will be developing and facilitating groups for people at different stages of recovery – helping them through arts and crafts or creative writing, helping with life skills or anxiety, or just having an informal chat. We’ll be part of the community here, showing that people who are in addiction can recover from it.”
Amelia Wainwright is a nurse based at the Hub, and she says: “The walk-in service should work much better. We will be dealing with any and all medical issues – some people may be reluctant to see a GP. We are trying to form a better therapeutic relationship and build trust. In my previous job I was a surgical nurse, and we saw a lot of cases of infection around injection sites – sometimes that will lead to limb loss, so it is important to treat it early.”
Also using the Hub is an Assertive Outreach team, whose members focus on providing support at home to high-risk people, such as people who have recently suffered an overdose.
Gemma Tilbury is one of the team members, and she says: “We will hear about non-fatal overdoses from the emergency department or the ambulance service, but we also get referrals from elsewhere – people who are using heavily, or who have mental health issues, or are in other high-risk situations. We’ll visit and review their situation, we could provide naloxone training [to treat an opioid overdose] or advice. It’s about reducing harm and managing risk, which often means informing them about risk.”