Have been a bit tied up, so am late in posting this one:
Pulse: At the heart of general practice since 1960
Psychological therapies 'only helping one in ten people', concludes new analysis
The flagship programme to widen access to psychological therapies in the NHS is only helping one in ten patients referred by GPs and each session could be costing over three times as much as official estimates, claims a new analysis.
The analysis found that success rates significantly lower if all the patients referred to the Improving Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT) programme were included, with a recovery rate of 12%.
This compares with official NHS England figures that show a 40% recovery rate, although this is only based on those patients who were ‘at caseness’ to begin with and were considered to have completed treatment.
Researchers from the University of Chester’s Centre for Psychological Therapies in Primary Care (CPTPC) published their analysis in two papers in the Journal of Psychological Therapies in Primary Care this month.
They concluded that their data raised questions over the sustainability of the programme, and urged CCG leaders to ‘look behind’ Government figures to judge whether to invest in IAPT.
But the Department of Health academics who made the economic case for the programme to be set up have rejected the researchers’ claims, which they say are based on ‘flawed analyses’, ‘inappropriate’ calculations and ‘dubious assumptions’.
In the first paper, an analysis of IAPT data from the NHS Information Centre for 2011-2012, the team reported that the official figure for patients moving to recovery was 44%, based on those patients who were ‘at caseness’ to begin with and were considered to have completed treatment.
However, when the researchers considered all patients entering treatment - completeing at least one session - the figure fell to just 22%. If the full quota of patients referred for IAPT was considered, the proportion of patients moving to recovery fell even further, to just 12%.
The authors concluded: ‘The difference between the method favoured by the IAPT programme and the proportion of all referrals is too large to be ignored.’
Lead author Steve Griffiths, senior research fellow at CPTPC, told Pulse: ‘The message for GPs and for GP commissioners is that they need to look behind the optimistic message that 44% of IAPT patients are “moving to recovery”. Our data clearly indicates that the true figure is 12% moving to recovery based on the total number of referrals into IAPT.