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Improving drug and alcohol treatment provision in Bristol

  • HealthGIS Maps will be a very useful tool to improve the Joint Strategic Needs Assessment.

    Sue Bandcroft, Substance Misuse Manager Bristol City Council

Ordnance Survey geographic information is helping to improve the planning and delivery of drug and alcohol treatment services in Bristol as well as increasing joint working between the city council and local primary care trust (PCT).

The challenge

Avon IM&T Consortium provides information management and technology solutions to four PCTs in South-West England – NHS® Bristol, NHS North Somerset, NHS South Gloucestershire, and NHS Bath and North-East Somerset. The agency has recently developed HealthGIS Maps, a unique interactive online tool to help NHS decision-makers analyse information and plan services more accurately.

In May 2011, Avon IM&T Consortium was asked to provide information for a joint-working initiative between NHS Bristol and Bristol City Council to improve local drug and alcohol treatment services.

Commissioning managers wanted to map where people who use drug and alcohol services live and know who goes where to access the services. The aim was to identify geographic gaps in service provision and to help with the future planning of treatment centres across the city.

The solution

The first step was to track down the data to support the project. There are currently more than 5 000 people using drug and alcohol services in Bristol, and responsibility for those services is shared between the PCT and local authority.

The new Public Sector Mapping Agreement (PSMA) introduced in April 2011 allows all public-sector organisations across England and Wales access, free at the point of use, to geographic data provided by Ordnance Survey. The agreement widens access to Ordnance Survey digital mapping products and enables more collaborative working between partner organisations.

Using geographical information systems (GIS), Avon IM&T Consortium was able to pinpoint the locations of treatment centres and determine where people using drug and alcohol services live. Thanks to the PSMA, the team was able to use data provided by both the PCT and local authority to calculate the accessibility of local treatment centres, include hospital statistics on alcohol-related admissions and analyse the current provision of services. The information was presented using their HealthGIS Maps tool, allowing decision- makers to easily interrogate the data.

The benefits

  • More accurate planning of drug and alcohol services.
  • Better value for money and use of resources.
  • Improved partnership working.
  • A useful tool to improve the Joint Strategic Needs Assessment – the means by which PCTs and local authorities work together to plan health and social care services for their community.
  • More flexible and visual tool for decision makers to work with.

The products used

    Download this case study PDF – 855kB


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