Number 10 reply to Therapy Petition

If you haven’t already seen it, here is the Governmental reply to this e-petition on the No 10 website that we supported: We the undersigned petition the Prime Minister to consider other psychotherapy approaches, not only cbt, in the proposed expansion of psychotherapeutic services within the NHS, instead of restricting choice for members of the public to one only model of therapy.

The reply:

“A ten-year programme of modernisation is underway to improve mental health services, to increase access to effective treatment and care, reduce unfair variation, raise standards and provide quicker and more convenient services. This programme of reform is backed by significant additional resources and is actively supported by the National Institute for Mental Health in England (NIMHE).

The Government is committed to expanding access to psychological therapies as a positive alternative to medication. We are aware of Lord Layard’s interest in this area, and he is closely involved in the Department’s work to develop models that will provide tangible evidence of the effectiveness of investing in talking therapies.

The Depression Report, published by Lord Layard and the London School of Economics’ Centre for Economic Performance Mental Health Policy Group on 19 June, advocates that psychological therapies, particularly cognitive behavioural therapy, should be made available to people suffering from depression, chronic anxiety and schizophrenia. It estimates that 10,000 new therapists are needed by 2013 to treat 800,000 people every year, through the creation of 250 treatment centres, each comprising 40 therapists.

The Depression Report is not a Departmental or Government publication. While we agree that more psychological therapies are needed, it is too early to make assumptions on the number of therapists needed. We have recently established a new programme to explore the ways of delivering evidence based psychological therapies effectively.

The Government has launched the Improving Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT) programme to produce robust evidence in favour of increasing psychological therapy capacity. The programme consists of two demonstration sites in Doncaster and Newham, and a network of smaller regional projects that will bring together key programmes run by the NHS, the voluntary sector and local employers to test various models that could be implemented nationally. The programme will explore the ways of delivering evidence based psychological therapies effectively and will provide real, tangible evidence of the value of investing in talking therapies. Based on the learning from these sites, we will develop plans on the size, composition and training requirements of the workforce that will be required to roll out an improved psychological therapy service across England in the next five to ten years.

The demonstration site programme will cost £3.7million over the lifetime of the project and is being funded by the Department of Health. The two sites have been chosen because they serve very different demographics with different health needs, and they offer different treatment models such as community-based, voluntary sector-led, or employer-led.

The demonstration sites will develop new services for providing evidence based psychological interventions for people with depression, anxiety and other common mental health problems in primary and community settings. To date, services for people with these needs have been extremely limited leading to inappropriate services and/or reliance on medication and/or referral to secondary care.

The demonstration sites will also explore a variety of ways in which appropriate services for this group of people can be provided. This will include developing integrated teams of therapists provided by NHS and non-statutory providers. The new services will also be integrated with new Employment Advisers to support people in retaining and returning to work. The Advisers will enable the new services to develop more effective links with employers, occupational health services and Job Centre Plus.

The Department of Health is aware of the concerns about the emphasis that the IAPT programme places on CBT. The prospect of including other forms of psychological therapy in the programme has been discussed a number of times by the expert reference group which advises the programme’s board on matters of research efficacy and evaluation. However, it was decided that the IAPT programme should not deviate from its stated aim of increasing access to those therapies, like CBT, that are supported in the current National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) guidelines.

Notwithstanding the above, the Government recognises that many therapists are keen to ensure that the public can choose from a range of evidence-based and empirically validated therapies, together with those currently recommended by NICE. Indeed, given the relatively recent emergence of the recognition of the efficacy of psychological interventions, we expect that the IAPT programme will be capable of incorporating new research data in order to innovate and improve continuously the choice of psychological therapies being offered.”

Posted by: Eleanor


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