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Multidisciplinary specialized services for people with alcohol and drug problems were chosen as a theme for countrywide supervision in 2006 because it is now more than two years since the services were reorganized and became part of specialized health services. The new owners with responsibility for these services have now had time to ensure that this vulnerable group of clients receives multidisciplinary services that are in accordance with sound professional standards and with the requirements laid down in the Patients’ Rights Act.

Supervision activities focused on four different phases of treatment for people with alcohol and drug problems: referral and assessment, clinical investigation, treatment and completion of treatment. We investigated whether services in all these phases are provided in accordance with sound professional standards. We also investigated how it is ensured that the deadline of 30 working days for the right to be assessed is met. Other areas that were investigated were team work with other services, client participation, whether there were enough employees with the necessary skills, and patient record-keeping.

The findings confirmed that it is necessary for providers of multidisciplinary specialized services to identify areas that need to be improved:

  • Several institutions provide services that are not in accordance with sound professional standards, since they do not have the necessary professional expertise needed to make adequate assessments, to carry out investigations and to provide treatment. Several cases of inadequate patient record-keeping were detected, and patient records were not stored in such a way as to ensure necessary limitation of access.
  • Several institutions did not ensure that clients who are referred to specialized treatment services are assessed by a multidisciplinary team within the deadline of 30 working days.
  • The possibilities for clients to be offered coordinated services are inadequate, because cooperation between different sectors, and between multidisciplinary specialized services and municipal health and social services, is not satisfactory.
  • Conditions were detected that show that management of the services is not systematic, so that provision of services in accordance with sound professional standards is not ensured. For example, there were deficiencies in the system associated with registration of adverse events, and active use of experience gained from these events in staff training and work with quality improvement.