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Nearly six in ten CCGs missing talking therapies targets

Mind charity says it’s vital for quality, timely services to be in place to meet rising demand

Louise Prime

Wednesday, 28 June 2017

Almost six in ten clinical commissioning groups are missing targets on access to talking therapies, according to official figures. Mental health charity Mind said this morning that the “unacceptable” figures reflect years of mental health services being “woefully underfunded”, and insisted that it is vital that quality, timely services must be in place to meet increasing demand.

Mind said the new data, from NHS England’s mental health dashboard on how CCGs are performing with regard to delivering talking therapies, highlight the proportion of CCGs meeting and missing their targets. These most recent available data, which are for Q3 (October-December) 2016, showed that 120 out of 209 CCGs in England (57%) are failing to meet the target for the proportion of people in their area that should be accessing talking therapies – currently set at 15.8% of the local population who have been identified as being able to benefit from talking therapies. By 2021, this target is set to rise to 25%.

The figures also revealed that barely half (52%) of CCGs met the recovery rate target for talking therapies – 101 out of 209 CCGs missed the current recovery target, which is set at 50%.

Mind pointed out that these data specifically focus on therapies available through the Improving Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT) programme, which is supposed to increase accessibility of talking treatments to those identified as potentially benefitting from receiving them (typically, people with common mental health problems such as depression and anxiety disorder).

Sophie Corlett, director of external relations at Mind, commented: “It’s unacceptable that nearly three in five CCGs are missing their targets when it comes to helping local people receive talking therapy, especially as the target currently only stands at less than 16% of the local population who could potentially benefit from this type of treatment. Failing to meet this target doesn’t bode well, as it will rise to 25% by 2021.

“Mental health services have been woefully underfunded for years. Thanks to anti-stigma campaigns and movements like Heads Together and Times to Change, there’s less of a taboo when it comes to mental health, but as more people come forward and seek help, it’s vital that quality timely services are in place to meet increasing demand. No matter where you live in the country, we want to see everyone access the help they need, when they need it.”

She added: “One of the recommendations to come out of the Five Year Forward View for Mental Health report was to ensure that data was routinely made available to provide a clear picture of the state of mental health services. The Government accepted these recommendations, and now that these figures are available, we are able to see exactly where in the country they are falling down and hold those responsible for their delivery – CCGs – to account.”

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