New figures from the Health and Social Care Information Centre (HSCIC) as part of the Improving Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT) programme reveal that more people than previously are waiting longer than 28 days – the target time between referral from GP to accessing treatments - to access talking therapies. This quarter, 116,000 people in England are waiting more than 28 days– up by nearly 3 per cent since the last quarter.
Waiting times still vary hugely across the country, with the fewest people waiting more than 28 days in the East of England, and the most people waiting more than 28 days in the North West. One area had more than 4,000 people waiting over 28 days.
Vicki Nash, Head of Policy and Campaigns at Mind, said:
"It’s very disappointing that thousands of people still aren’t accessing the talking treatments they need to manage their mental health in a timely way. Early intervention is key to preventing deterioration which is why it’s so important to reduce these waiting times. Whilst it is encouraging to see that referral rates have gone up, indicating more people seeking help, the challenge now is ensuring this increased demand is being met.
The Government and NHS committed to parity of esteem but this is far from a reality – they need to act now to address these inequalities. It’s vital for the millions of people affected by mental health problems that further investment in mental health is prioritised within the forthcoming spending review."