Many people are now looking to access and engage with NHS Talking Therapies for anxiety and depression digitally, from booking appointments online to accessing psychological therapy via video-calls or choosing to complete high-quality online therapy programmes with the support of a trained and qualified therapist. NHS England is committed to supporting services to use technology to improve accessibility and choice for patients. There are a number of ways which we do this.
Guidance will be issued to support services in adopting digital tools to support a patients journey into and through NHS talking therapies. Individuals or their GPs can refer into NHS Talking Therapies online. As of January 2023, most services will enable individuals to book their initial and any subsequent appointments online, which many find to be a much more convenient option and which can also reduce administrative burden on services.
Some people prefer to access psychological therapy itself digitally. NHS Talking Therapies services enable this in a number of ways. For example, appointments can be delivered remotely via telephone, video calls or secure messaging services. There are also Digitally Enabled Therapy (DET) products, which deliver a substantial portion of therapy online but are designed to be used with therapist assistance. This is offered as part of a choice of treatment options appropriate to the patient’s needs.
The have been developed to provide assurance that DETs are suitable for use in NHS Talking Therapies for anxiety and depression services. The assessment criteria are now being piloted, with products being assessed against the criteria. The results of the pilot will be published in early 2023.