We host MPs Diane Abbott and Chuka Umunna (May 2012)


The following Press Release was sent out when Diane Abbott and Chuka Umunna visited Mount Carmel


Mount Carmel, Streatham, London, 25th May 2012

MPs Diane Abbott and Chuka Umunna “very impressed” by Mount Carmel alcohol treatment centre


Mount Carmel, the South London alcohol treatment centre, today hosted a fact finding visit from two senior Labour Party MPs. Diane Abbott was invited in her role as Shadow Minister for Public Health, and Chuka Umunna because Mount Carmel has a “follow-on” house in his Streatham constituency. After over 25 years of success, Mount Carmel, like all UK treatment centres, faces revenue shortfalls resulting from the Local Authority cuts.

Diane Abbott commented “We were very impressed by Mount Carmel. It is an excellent example of a small, independent alcohol treatment centre. Yet sadly its revenues are falling due to the government cuts. What we need is more treatment centre beds for alcoholics, not fewer. People with the illness of alcoholism have a right to treatment – and anyone who questions that should listen to the client’s stories, stories of escape from degradation and despair, that I’ve heard today.”

Chuka Umunna agreed: “The cost of alcoholism to the UK, in both financial and social terms, is very high and is growing. Mount Carmel, with a long track record of success with alcoholics, is suffering because less money is available for treatment. However, studies show that paying for alcohol treatment leads to a net benefit to the public purse, rather than a cost. I understand the problem local authorities face with funding cuts, but viewed strategically it is incomprehensible that Mount Carmel has empty beds and falling revenues. It is a vital local resource for alcoholics in my Streatham constituency.”

Mount Carmel, an independent not for profit residential and day treatment centre, was founded in 1985. Providing 3 and 6 month treatment periods for alcoholics, therapy groups are also offered to help their families. Clients also learn life skills and basic employment skills during treatment, and are offered housing support on leaving. To complete the steps to prevent relapse, aftercare is offered free for life.

CEO Ruth Allonby explained: “We have a very good reputation with Local Authorities. But obviously they face funding restrictions, and so we have empty beds. However, I think there is an opportunity to review how that money is spent. I would question the practice of some local authorities who use residential rehab as the last resort, after a number of lighter interventions have failed.”

My argument is that for some drinkers, it is obvious from their first contact with the care system that residential treatment is the only solution that will work. I would say, send those people straight to us. Any other treatment will be unsuccessful, a waste of money, and will prolong the suffering of the client and their family.”