Psychological therapies programme comes at expense of other services


Psychological therapies programme comes at expense of other services

By Charlotte Fantelli

The Government’s new programme to improve access to talking therapies comes at a great cost to other initiatives an exclusive story in The Pulse, yesterday (18/04/12) revealed.

It shows how GPs are coming under pressure to respond to the ‘Improving Access to Psychological Therapies’ (IAPT) scheme, without any additional funding to make this practical. It also reveals that whilst trying to meet these new government goals, many PCT’s are struggling to give patients non-IAPT services, with waiting times increasing and pressure mounting.

While the government has pledged an extra £22million to improve young people’s mental health services, no extra funding is pledged to see through the ambitious plans to improve talking therapy access. This is leading to ‘disproportionate’ use of these services, namely cognitive behavioural therapy.

So while access to talking therapies may be improving under the new plans, the money for this has to come from somewhere, and it appears that it comes at the expense of other mental health initiatives.

Dr Les Ashton, member of the editorial board for Primary Care Mental Health Journal, said: ‘The Government has made clear there are rising expectations for the service, so you have to get funding from somewhere. It is robbing Peter to pay Paul.'

It seems clear that while the re-evaluation of mental health services, and the government’s plans to put services on a par with those of physical illness are a great step forward, without new funding in place, there will inevitably be a price to pay somewhere.

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