hscicA postcode lottery still exists across England for how long people have to wait to access psychological therapies, new statistics have revealed.

In 2013/14, the proportion of people referred to Improving Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT) services seen within 28 days of their referral ranged from 3% in one clinical commissioning group (CCG) area to 96% in another, according to the Health and Social Care Information Centre (HSCIC).

Nationally, of the 709,000 referrals entering treatment in 2013/14, 61% had their first treatment appointment within 28 days of referral and 89% within 90 days.

This is the HSCIC’s second annual report about psychological therapies, which shows IAPT services received 1.1 million referrals in 2013/14. These related to just fewer than 950,000 individuals, of whom 63% were female. The highest access rate by age were 25-29-year-olds, at just over 3 per 100, compared to just under two in every 100 of the overall adult population.

The report also noted that in 2013/14, 920,000 referrals – including referrals made this year and some continued from the previous year – ended. Of these:
• 40% had finished a course of treatment and more than half of these – 60% - showed reliable improvement
• 37% ended without being seen by the IAPT service
• Of the 160,000 referrals where the person was taking psychotropic medication at the start of treatment, almost 13% were no longer being prescribed it at the end of treatment.

In addition, 59% of referrals entering treatment in the year had a recorded diagnosis, the most of which was ‘mixed anxiety and depressive disorder’ at 15%.
Considering finished treatment courses, the mean number of treatment sessions varied by diagnosis; ranging from 9 for obsessive compulsive disorder, to 5 for mental and behavioural disorders due to alcohol.

The highest level of recovery was for referrals with a provisional diagnosis of ‘specific isolated phobias’ at 63%.

“[This] report provides a new dimension of understanding to this important area of care,” said HSCIC chair Kingsley Manning. “Depression and anxiety are known to affect a broad spectrum of people within our society – and today’s figures point to almost two thirds of referrals for Psychological Therapy being for women.

“It is vital to ensure those in charge of commissioning services have as much salient information at their fingertips as possible. For example, one of our other recent reports showed there were almost 9,000 hospital admissions for anxiety in the 12 months to November of last year, almost two thirds of which were for women.”

To view the full report go to: www.hscic.gov.uk/pubs/psycther1314