Achieving Better Access to Mental Health Services by 2020*

This week the Deputy Prime Minister, Nick Clegg, announced that, with a planned increase in funding, treatment for mental health conditions will be brought into line with other NHS services with the introduction of the first ever access & waiting time standards.

One of those standards is that from April 2015 75% of people referred to the Improving Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT) programme will be treated within 6 weeks of referral, with 95% of people being treated within 18 weeks.

While we welcome the introduction of waiting standards which bring the mental health treatment in line with that for physical health we would see this as just a start.

We know from the huge numbers of people we have supported through our advocacy and helpline services that waiting times to start CBT are less of a concern to people than the quality of that CBT when they are finally seen. We also know that people’s care is not always being stepped up from IAPT services as NICE Guidelines are not followed or there is not a psychological therapy service with experience of effectively treating OCD to step someone up to. We are also aware that it is becoming harder to get local funding agreed for people to receive treatment at national & specialist OCD services.

These are issues that the NHS still needs to work on and on which we will continue to campaign. 


*Achieving Better Access to Mental Health Services by 2020