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 with 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 CCG patches in the region, delivering a range of services and 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 increase both access and recovery rates. Achieving new national waiting times targets for IAPT services by April 2016 will be a key priority for 2015/16.

The South West SCN 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 SCN is part of a regional delivery group that holds fortnightly video conferences to discuss CCG performance against plans to achieve this and the network is providing support to those CCGs identified as high impact. The SCN is also liaising with those CCGs and Area Teams who have received visits from the national intensive support team.

We are also currently mapping the IAPT workforce across the South West. The 2014 national IAPT workforce census has identified a potential shortfall in the number of therapists in the region needed to deliver the national ambitions. This information will also be fed into the education commissioning process with HESW.

In addition the South West SCN co-ordinates the IAPT Expert Reference Group (ERG). Bringing together commissioners and IAPT services providers, the ERG 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.