Commenting on the guidance issued today by NICE on early intervention to support vulnerable young people at risk of substance misuse, Dr Gill Morgan, chief executive of the NHS Confederation, said:
"The guidance will be useful in helping NHS organisations develop their substance misuse services for young and vulnerable people. However, as with any NICE guidance issued, no extra funding is provided. Primary care trusts plan their expenditure some 18 months in advance and so when new guidance is issued, and no new funding provided, it inevitably causes difficulties.
"PCTs receive a fixed allocation of money to deliver all the services for their local community and have to take difficult decisions on competing priorities. For example, this year many PCTs have been faced with decisions about spending money on expensive drugs, cutting waiting lists and investing in public health services.
"Every decision about spending taxpayers' money is a moral one because a pound spent on one drug means a pound less for another. There will always be a finite amount of money and difficult decisions will always need to be taken. We strongly believe that those decisions are best made by clinicians and trusts locally because the health needs of those living in Bradford will be very different to those who live in Brighton."