Northampton mental health charity beats national targets for therapy waiting times

St Andrews, Billing Road, Northampton.
St Andrews, Billing Road, Northampton.

A Northampton based mental health charity has significantly out-performed the Government’s new targets for people with mental health problems.

In a report on its first year providing private therapy clinics the average time a St Andrew’s patient waited for their first psychiatry assessment following referral by their GP was just one week.

In October Deputy Prime Minister, Nick Clegg, announced national waiting time targets for people with mental health problems. Mr Clegg said that people with depression should begin ‘talking therapy’ treatments within six weeks from April.

Young people experiencing psychosis for the first time should be seen within 14 days - the same target as cancer patients.

Head of St Andrew’s private therapy clinic, Amey Haywood, said: “We have seen referrals increase over our first year, highlighting the level of need for this type of support. More importantly nine out of ten people said that they felt they could deal with their mental health problem in the future after attending therapy sessions.”

Nationally the picture is mixed, with many people struggling to access the range of therapies that should be available to them.

Mind undertook a survey of 2,000 people who have tried to access talking therapies within the last two years. The charity found that:

*one third of people had to ask for therapy, rather than being offered the service

*half waited more than three months for an assessment, with one in ten waiting more than a year for assessment

*56 per cent were not offered a choice of therapy

*half said they didn’t get enough sessions to help them to recover.

In September the charity called for people to have access to therapies within 28 days.

The national Improving Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT) programme, launched in 2008 to improve access in England, reported that there were three million treatment appointments in 2013/14.

The IAPT report, published in September, shows that in some parts of the country over 80% of referrals receive treatment within 28 days. However in the Hertfordshire and South Midlands area just over a third of the 41,500 referrals received treatment in that time and one out of ten referrals waited for more than 90 days.