Improving Access to Psychological Therapies

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Improving Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT) is a United Kingdom initiative to improve access to psychological therapies. It was a result of the economic evaluations[1] by Professor Lord Richard Layard and Labour Party policy.[2][3][4] The aim of the project is to increase the provision of evidence-based treatments for anxiety[5] and depression [6] by primary care organisations. This includes workforce planning to adequately train the mental health professionals required.[7]

Initial indications show that the project has resulted in good clinical outcomes[8] [9] and is cited as a good example of the use of stepped-care to disseminate cognitive behaviour therapy.[10] It is predicted that by 2011,[dated info] approximately 900,000 people will have received treatment, and 3600 new staff will have been trained, possibly removing 25,000 people from sick pay and sickness benefits.[11]

There has been some criticism for the sole use of cognitive behavioural therapy as the only funded therapy[12] and debate over whether IAPT's roll-out may result initially in low quality therapy being offered by poorly trained practitioners.[13][14]

In December 2010, Paul Burstow, Minister for Care Services, announced an extension to the IAPT project to include Children and Young Peoples services.

Beacon UK analysed the indicators data submitted by existing IAPT services across England for 2011–12 and reported:

  • 533,550 people accessed IAPT services, reaching only 8.7% of people suffering from anxiety and depression disorders.
  • Four out of 31 (13%) IAPT services in London and 37 out of 151 (25%) services in England achieved the national target of a 50% recovery rate.
  • 96,770 (11%) people waited more than 28 days from referral to first treatment session.
  • 22,498 (6.8%) people no longer required sick pay or benefits following a course of treatment.
  • 60.1% of referrals to IAPT entered treatment. The highest acceptance rate was at Calderdale (99.7%); the lowest acceptance rate was Telford and Wrekin (28.9%).[15]

The government pledged £118m annually from 2015 to 2019 to increase access to psychological therapies services to children and young people.[16]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "The Depression Report. A new deal for depression and anxiety disorders" (PDF). London School of Economics. Retrieved 26 April 2009. 
  2. ^ "Fit for purpose". The Guardian (London). 18 February 2009. Retrieved 26 April 2009. 
  3. ^ Middleton H (2008). "Quality improvement in primary care mental health practice. A case for political intervention?". Qual Prim Care 16 (6): 419–24. PMID 19094417. 
  4. ^ "Therapy Today – The Online Magazine for Counsellors and Psychotherapists". Retrieved 17 December 2014. 
  5. ^ "NICE treatment guidance for anxiety". Retrieved 26 April 2009. [dead link]
  6. ^ "NICE treatment guidance for depression". Retrieved 26 April 2009. [dead link]
  7. ^ "IAPT policy and guidance". Department of Health. Retrieved 26 April 2009. 
  8. ^ Richards DA, Suckling R (February 2009). "Improving access to psychological therapies: Phase IV prospective cohort study". Br J Clin Psychol 48 (Pt 4): 377–96. doi:10.1348/014466509X405178. PMID 19208291. 
  9. ^ Clark and Layard; et al. (March 2009). "Improving Access to Psychological Therapy: Initial Evaluation of Two UK Demonstration Sites". Retrieved 2 August 2009. 
  10. ^ Taylor CB, Chang VY (2008). "Issues in the dissemination of cognitive-behavior therapy". Nord J Psychiatry. 62 Suppl 47: 37–44. doi:10.1080/08039480802315673. PMID 18752117. 
  11. ^ "Technical Guidance for IAPT Key Performance Indicators" (PDF). March 2009. Retrieved 26 April 2009. 
  12. ^ Hope, Jenny (2 August 2009). "Mail on line. Talk therapy for the depressed 'could be wasting millions', say psychotherapists". Daily Mail (London). Retrieved 2 August 2009. 
  13. ^ "UKCP response to Andy Burnham's speech on mental health". Retrieved 5 May 2015. 
  14. ^ "Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy: Proven Effectiveness". Retrieved 17 December 2014. 
  15. ^ "Have we improved access to mental health services?". Health Service Journal. 4 February 2013. Retrieved 15 March 2015. 
  16. ^ "Chancellor outlines £1.25bn mental health package". Local Government Chronicle. 18 March 2015. Retrieved 22 March 2015. 

External links[edit]