Patricia Hewitt announces ten more talking therapy pilots and says praises early results from programme

Health secretary Patricia Hewitt yesterday announced the government would carry out ten more pilots into psychological therapies for people with common mental health problems, saying the first two trials had already proved a success.

Hewitt announced £2m for the primary care trust-led pilots, targeted at people with depression or anxiety with a particular focus on helping people get and retain work, and invited expressions of interest by 31 May. The pilots should begin in September, but will receive less funding than the first two sites, in Doncaster and Newham , east London, which were launched last year, with £3.7m to spend over two years between them.

Hewitt said both had proved a success, with 90 per cent of clients saying they were highly satisfied with services and clinical outcomes exceeding those set by National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence guidelines for tackling depression and anxiety.

Health minister Rosie Winterton trailed the fresh pilots in parliament, when she also said there would be further trials launched in 2008.

However, critics, including mental health charities, have claimed there is already more than enough evidence to roll out talking therapies across the country.

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 Mithran Samuel




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