Charities want shorter waiting times for patients suffering with their mental health

  • A survey has found that 12% of people are forced to wait over a year to be seen, and charities want to reduce that time.

    Over one in ten people with mental health problems have to wait over a year before receiving treatment and over half have to wait longer than three months.

    The We Need To Talk Coalition has said that delays alongside a lack of choice create a devastating effect on people who were not getting the right treatment and others were turning to private treatment. Sad Silhouette

    It has said that the NHS should offer a full range of evidence-based psychological therapies to all who need them within 28 days of requesting a referral. Figures published last month show that over 80,000 of the 241,250 patients referred by GPs and other clinicians to talking therapies in the second quarter of this year waited more than 28 days to receive treatment, reports the Guardian.

    Chief executive of the mental health charity, Mind, has said that: "It is far from acceptable that in some parts of the country people are still waiting over a year to access treatment," he said. "This must urgently be addressed if the government's commitment to parity between physical and mental health care is to be realised. We're urging the government and NHS England to take heed of this new report and make sure that people with mental health problems are getting the right treatment when they need it."

    It is said that almost a fifth of UK adults have experienced anxiety or depression according to official figure and it costs the economy £7.5m. The majority is due to loss of employment.

    Health minister Norman Lamb said that IAPT was a victim of its own success. "More people than ever before are getting access to talking therapies thanks to our £450m investment in the IPAT programme," he said. "Due to its initial success, demand has increased and this has led to increased waiting times in some parts of the country."

    James Morris, chair of the all party parliamentary Group on mental health, said he fully supported reducing the waiting time to 28 days as soon as possible and increasing the range of therapies on offer: "There's been considerable progress made but there are still differences between the way physical and mental health services are treated in the NHS," he said.

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