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Patients waiting longer for therapy in Harrogate

Patients waiting longer for therapy in Harrogate

Published by May Norman at 6:45am 10th May 2020.

Katie Williams, Data Reporter

More Harrogate therapy patients waiting four weeks for treatment

  • Patients referred for talking therapy in Harrogate are waiting over four weeks.
  • New NHS figures reveal people are waiting longer than the 28 days target time.
  • Mind claims the wait is an unacceptably long time and adds that there is a huge need for mental health support at the moment.

More people referred for talking therapy in Harrogate are waiting over four weeks for their first treatment, the latest figures show.

Mental health charity Mind said patients across the country faced "unacceptably" lengthy waits for treatment before the coronavirus outbreak, and warned that social distancing measures have led to a fall in referrals.

Psychological therapy involves clinical support for adults suffering with mental health problems such as depression and anxiety.

support, pixabay

NHS England data reveals that of the 210 people who received their first psychological therapy treatment in the NHS Harrogate and Rural District Clinical Commissioning Group in January, an estimated 205 (98 per cent) had been treated within 28 days of their original assessment.

The situation was worse than in January last year, when 100 per cent of 220 people had their first treatment within a 28-day period.

Under the NHS Improving Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT) programme, 75 per cent of people referred should access treatment within six weeks of their assessment, and 95 per cent within 18 weeks.

But Geoff Heyes, from Mind, said “nobody should have to wait longer than 28 days to access the support they deserve.”

He added:

"We know that many people were still waiting an unacceptably long time to access talking therapies before coronavirus and that there is a huge need for mental health support at the moment.

“However, we are also hearing that the impact of coronavirus on NHS talking therapies has been a reduction in the number of referrals. In some places this reduction has been significant."

clasped hands

Mr Heyes said the drop could be for several reasons, including discomfort around digital therapy or guilt about asking for help from the NHS during the outbreak.

He added:

"We would encourage anyone who feels they need mental health support to make an appointment with their GP or refer themselves to talking therapies via IAPT.

"It is vital that the coronavirus pandemic is understood as a mental health crisis, as well as a physical health crisis."

Nationally, of the 110,400 people who started talking therapy in January, 82 per cent were seen within six weeks of their referral.

A survey by charity Rethink Mental Illness found that 80 per cent of people living with mental illness said coronavirus and measures to contain it have made their mental health worse, with 27 per cent saying it is "much worse".

Danielle Hamm, the charity's associate director for campaigns and policy, said:

"The NHS is doing an incredible job, but it is likely that we will see increase demand for care over the coming months and years.

"Mental health must be a government priority during the pandemic and sustained investment in mental health services is crucial."

Dr Esther Cohen-Tovee, chairman of the division of clinical psychology at the British Psychological Society, said:

"Psychological services are making every effort to offer telephone or online consultations and therapy during the pandemic and the restrictions on us all.

"People already suffering with anxiety and depression will be affected in different ways by the pandemic and the restrictions.

"We need to rebuild more cohesive and connected communities to protect everyone’s wellbeing."