The architect of the government’s talking therapy programme today called for the establishment of 250 new therapy teams by 2013, as part of a “new deal for depression and anxiety.”
In a report published with colleagues from the London School of Economics, Labour peer and economist Lord Layard (pictured) said 40 new teams a year should be developed over the next seven years.
The report suggests the teams should be established by central government and kept separate from mental health trusts. It recommends 10,000 new therapists be trained primarily to deliver cognitive behavioural therapy, with half being clinical psychologists and half drawn from the ranks of social workers, nurses, counsellors and occupational therapists.
The study won the backing of four mental health charities. They called for an urgent investment of funds to make talking therapy available to anyone who needs it, as recommended by the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence.
Mind, the Sainsbury Centre for Mental Health, the Mental Health Foundation and Rethink said: “NICE guidance has approved CBT for depression, some forms of anxiety and for schizophrenia on seven occasions, yet it is still scarce and subject to waiting times that would be unacceptable for any other form of specialist treatment on the NHS.”
NHS Confederation deputy policy director Jo Webber said she welcomed much of the report but warned a therapy service should not be nationally prescribed but should react to local needs.
The government is currently piloting an expanded talking therapy service in Newham, east London, and Darlington, and if successful plans a national roll-out.