Improving Access to Psychological Therapies

Improving Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT) provide evidence-based psychological therapies in primary care. IAPT was originally developed to help people experiencing anxiety and depression but has now expanded to look at working with people with long-term health conditions and severe mental illness including personality disorder. A parallel programme exists for children and young people increasing access to psychological therapies within children’s services. Some IAPT services in the south west are national demonstration sites for people with long-term conditions and personality disorders. Psychological treatment consists of individual or group sessions, with a qualified therapist.

There are IAPT services in each of the integrated care boards patches in the region, delivering a range of services provided by both the NHS and voluntary sector. Services are monitored on their waiting times, access rates and recovery rates, and the national ambition for IAPT services is to improve these. Achieving new national waiting times targets for IAPT services by April 2020 will be a key priority for 2019/20.

The South West Mental Health Clinical Network works closely with the regional team, as it is part of the regional delivery groups that are supporting the national ambitions on IAPT. Work is ongoing to support commissioners to achieve national access and recovery targets in IAPT services. The network is part of a regional delivery group that discusses integrated care boards performance against targets and provides support to integrated care boards.

We have also recently undertaken a benchmarking of IAPT services in the South West. The network co-ordinates the IAPT Expert Reference Group. Bringing together commissioners and IAPT services providers, this group enables services to benchmark against regional colleagues, share best practice, and link in with the national IAPT Intensive Support Team, to learn from national developments in IAPT.