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"Fitzwilliam centre"

About: Sheffield treatment and recovery team / substance misuse / Drugs (opiates) service

(as a service user),

I have been receving help and support from the Fitzwilliam centre for a number of years. Ive always felt that the care provided there was of the highest quality in often very difficult circumstances and probably doesnt recieve the plaudits it deserves.

I have used drugs since i was 18. Actually well before then but only in earnest then.I started with cannabis and grew up in the 90s when there were a lot of all sorts of drugs about. I dabbled with ectasy, speed and cocaine and then heroin. When i was about 25 I stopped using heroin without getting a habit and my drug use calmed down. I was really only using cannabis at nighttime and the occasional binge at the weekend. I was drinking pretty heavily and using valium too to dampen my anxiety. When I was turned 40 I had a very low period. My relationship was struggling and I felt very lonely. I realised that I could buy heroin online via the darkweb and have it delivered the next day. So I did. This turned into a habit and over a couple of years I got myself into a real tangle. I started knocking about with people who scored on the street and got a few phone numbers. Before long I was scoring in stairwells and using every day. I was somehow managing to hold down a job and help look after my three kids. I was using then, i now know through the help of Eileen and James at Fitzwilliam ,because i was deeply unhappy and wanted to self medicate to keep those feelings at bay. 

Ive been on a script for buprenorphine and diazempam from Fitzwilliam since about 2013 I believe. I have been through ups and downs during this period but feel that Ive made a lot of progress and am currently doing well. A lot of this is down to the dedication and wise guidance of Eileen and James. EIleen is a prescribing nurse with a theapeutic background and James is a therapist. They have really supported me at a level i needed to make the steps i needed to make to stop using and get myself back on track. This was  much about addressing the underlying reasons for my use and I cant thank them enough for their dedication and professional skill. I beleive that I may well be dead or homeless or in prison  without them. I found out that you cant maintain a heroin habit and go anywhere but down. The only question is how fast. 

I just want to put on record my thanks for this and also for the future of any funding that may be in question for this service. Ive spent many hours in the Fitzwilliam centre and I've seen the wide range of clients there. From folk that are homeless and living fix to fix to professionals whove picked up an opiate habit somewhere along the line and everyone in between. We're all the same really. But the calmness and caring nature of the staff there is unbelievable. I have had support from plenty of others along the way - Dave, Rod, Sarah, Andy and Sid are some of them. Theyve all been great. But I want to say a special word of thanks to Eileen and James. I went to my GPs surgery for the first time a few months back and was surprised to see that the level of care and attention there wasnt anywhere near that of Fitzwilliam. Its not a fashionable area of healthcare and is unlikely to be a priority for some commissioners. The lives of many of its clients are very tough and they present a variety of challenges on a daily basis. I dont know how many give feedback but i've never seen anyone treated with anything other than kindness and respect even when behaving occasionally pretty badly. 

Im now living by himself and with access to my three children regularly  - a better father to them and a happier person.

In summary my view is that this is an excellent service and vital for supporting people who get themselves in difficulties with opiates. It can happen to anyone. I would recommend that this service is maintained in its current structure if the opinions Ive heard from opiate users in other cities who have had their services run by other companies is anything to go by. Im certain i got a far better service than my friend in other cities for example. On a wider level have a look at other countries to see what can happen if you dont fund and prioritise this work properly. The worst drugs deaths figures in Europe.  

Responses

Response from Sid Wiffen, Service Manager, Sheffield Treatment and Recovery Teams (START), SHSC 3 weeks ago
Sid Wiffen
Service Manager, Sheffield Treatment and Recovery Teams (START),
SHSC
Submitted on 05/07/2021 at 14:33
Published on Care Opinion at 14:34


Thank you for going to the effort to write your considered comments. It is really nice to hear about your positive experiences of care received from the Fitzwilliam Centre. All of the staff work really hard to provide the best care possible, and feedback such as yours really does help remind staff why they do the job they do.

I'm pleased that you are doing well - that's great to hear.

I'll make sure colleagues at Fitzwilliam Centre see your comments.

  • {{helpful}} {{helpful == 1 ? "person thinks" : "people think"}} this response is helpful

Update posted by ChapfromSheffield (a service user)

Please do Sid. I've been wanting to leave some feedback for a while and I'm glad it got to you - I wasn't sure if it would. Thanks to all of you - you've made a huge difference to me and I am very grateful to you. The way that James and Eileen who I see separately worked together was very effective. I finished my sessions with James as I was doing loads better but then wanted to discuss a non drugs issue with him and he called me back and helped talk it through. I had a relapse at one point and they both saw me together to change my script and get me back on track. So many thanks and keep up the good work. Thanks

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