UK Moving to Improve Therapy for Patients Suffering with Depression

Individuals suffering with depression need more than simply a prescription to popular medications – they also need psychological therapy. According to a BBC News piece, however, 65 percent of UK doctors say they can rarely offer such therapy to depression sufferers within two months of referral.

This finding is according to the Royal College of GPs survey of 590 UK doctors reported that access to psychological services was only usually possible in that time frame. This survey is the result of the government’s efforts in working with RCGP to provide better access to therapies.

The National Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE) recommends that depression patients participate in talking therapies to treat mild and moderate depression. Known as the Mind campaign, it challenges all political parties to make a guarantee in their election manifestos in an effort to offer evidence-based therapies to all those who need them within 28 days of requesting referral.

The government earmarked nearly $300 million in 2007 to boost the number of cognitive behavioral therapists available in the NHS. The Improving Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT) program is designed to treat 900,000 extra people in England by 2010/11, with half of them moving to recovery and 25,000 fewer on sick pay and benefits.

RCGP chairman Professor Steve Field said in the BBC News: “There has been substantial improvement in the last few years but there is a long way to go. It is essential that the current program is completed within the next Parliament with adequate funding for training and employing extra therapists. If we can treat people early we can keep people in work, keep them off medication and help them get on with their lives.”

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