Press Release – 10th October 2014
This week, a 5-year plan was announced by the Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg which sets out new commitments to bring mental health services in line with the rest of the NHS. For the first time, maximum waiting times will be introduced for mental health by 2020.
Nick Clegg outlined that those requiring talking therapies will be seen within six weeks with an 18 week absolute maximum wait – just as if you are waiting for an operation on your hip, whilst young people experiencing psychosis for the first time will be seen within two weeks – just as if you suspect you have cancer. Further to this “if you are thinking of harming yourself, or for any emergency which takes you to A&E, you’ll get the help you need – just as if you had gone to hospital with chest pains or following an accident.”
Robert Cuming, CEO from the Herts and Beds based charity, The Counselling Foundation responded: “We welcome the recent initiative announced by the government and focus on people accessing mental health services In the publication ‘Achieving Better Access to Mental Health Services by 2020’.
“We are particularly are pleased that there is further investment in provision of support and a commitment to patients being seen within 6 weeks of being referred within IAPT (Improving Access to Psychological Therapies).
“As a major provider to the clinical groups in Hertfordshire we see patients that have been referred to us by GPs under the Any Qualified Provider (AQP) contract. We directly understand the need for patients to have a quick response when they experience mental health difficulties, which this initiative seeks to address. This is why at the Foundation in both our AQP contracts and the affordable counselling, we offer clients their first session within 20 working days of referral.
“For IAPT to be successful in reducing access times and providing a local mental health provision, we believe this must be with the close involvement of the third sector. For example the Foundation in it’s 40th year, offers expertise, a local trusted presence, and in-depth understanding of wider mental health issues. In our case we are a not for profit organisation and operate at a significantly lower cost than would be the case if the NHS invested internally in the same expertise.
“We also believe full engagement of our sector will help reduce waiting times for patients accessing help which is so critically important at a time of crisis, and at the Foundation, we are walking the walk because we are achieving quick access, right now.“
Over the past 12 months The Counselling Foundation provided over 10,000 counselling sessions through GP referrals and a further 10,000 low cost open ended sessions at our five counselling centres.
Tel: 01727 868 585 Option 8
The Counselling Foundation is a leading charity providing low cost, quality counselling and counsellor training for the better mental health and educational advancement of our communities.
Founded in 1974 , the Foundation has now become one of the largest counselling and training centres outside of London, with five centres and 150 staff and counsellors delivering over 30,000 counselling sessions a year.Tags: Access, AQP, counselling, Hertfordshire, IAPT, Mental Health Services, NHS, Nick Clegg, Waiting Times