"10 steps must surely be enough for anyone" claimed Health Secretary and M.P. for South Cambridgeshire Andrew Lansly in a Radio 4 'Today interview this morning. He signalled 'significant changes' to Drug & Alcohol treatment funding.
Questioned by Jim Naughtie, he described how City accountants, KCMB, had presented him with a comprehensive report which has informed his current thinking. "Jim, I'm not saying that KCMB have formal academic training in drug treatment but, as is common in the City, their staff do have extensive hands-on experience. Most importantly, they know how many beans make five. Or, in this case, twelve. And, shortly, ten."
"No area of spending is exempt from the imperative to bear down on costs" he went on "but, and I must emphasise this to your listeners Jim, finance is not the primary motive. The fact is that the 12 Step programme was devised in the early part of the last century and is no longer fit for purpose. There are certainly some back-office Steps which are not relevant to the current millennium and may be safely disposed of without any loss of effectiveness to the remaining front-line Steps. Ten Steps must surely be enough for anyone, though we will not be dictating which two should be discarded. That choice must properly remain the responsibilty of local professionals with knowledge of the local landscape."
Asked when these changes will come into effect, Lansley went on to say "I'm so glad you asked me that Jim. Before making the final decisions we will be consulting widely. All stakeholders and partners are invited to submit written representations by 5.30 p.m. on Friday 31st July, in time for us to publish our definitive directions promptly at 9 a.m. on Monday 1st August."
Speaking from the cockpit of a small World War 2 fighter-bomber, at a grass landing strip near Buckingham, UKIP's Nigel Farage later condemned the proposed changes. "This is what we've come to expect from Labour, and now this Con-Lib government. A well-established British, that's BRITISH, 12 Step programme is to be sacrificed on the alter of European decimal system conformity."
"Chocks Away. Now, where's Berco's house?"