takes first step on plan for health service to employ thousands
more counsellors and therapists
by Angela Hussain
government today took its first step on realising a plan for the
health service to employ thousands more counsellors and therapists
offering people with depression an alternative to medication.
pilot cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) centres are to be set
up in Doncaster, Yorkshire, and Newham, London, the Health Secretary
Patricia Hewitt announced today.
centres will have £3.7m over two years. If they prove to be
effective, similar therapy centres will be rolled out to the rest
of the country.
the British Psychological Society, which represents clinical psychologists
who use CBT, said today that funding for the training in England
and Wales of clinical psychologists has been slashed by 20 per cent.
Miller, the society's president, said: "It is the first cut
in training places in clinical psychology training in 20 years....The
Department of Health appears to be cutting back on the very people
who should be available to support its stated policy aims.
"Clearly these reductions in training numbers are driven by
finance rather than logic, and can only be seen as a failure of
government says it is committed to creating more “talking
therapies" – particularly cognitive behavioural therapy
- for people with mild to moderate depression.
government is eager to slash incapacity benefit payments by finding
ways for the 1.3 million people with a mental health problem who
claim such benefits to return to work. And, in 2004 the National
Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE) advised that people with
mild to moderate depression or anxiety can benefit more from counseling
of psychotherapy than medication.
September last year government adviser Lord Richard Layard, a health
economist, said ministers were "devoted to the idea" of
the NHS employing up to 10,000 extra therapists in 250 new treatment
centres to tackle depression and anxiety.
Speaking today at a National Mental Health Partnership Conference,
Ms Hewitt said that “too many people are prescribed medication
as a quick fix solution.”
"I hope that these pilot sites will provide real, tangible
evidence of the effectiveness of investing in talking therapies,”
"They will help break the cycle of deprivation, where poor
health leads to unemployment and wasted lives as people fail to
reach their full potential."
Cliff Prior, chief executive of the charity Rethink, hailed the
announcement as the “possible beginning of a dramatic advance
in mental health.”
Sainsbury Centre for Mental Health’s chief executive Angela
Greatley said: “Waiting times for psychological therapies
are long, despite the mass of evidence about their benefits for
announcement should be the beginning of a new approach that ensures
timely access to effective treatment and practical support, with
real choices and care close to home.”
shadow health minister Tim Loughton said: "With only 10% of
people suffering from depression receiving any kind of psychological
therapy it is simply not good enough for the government to say they
will monitor the success of these two centres.
illness is a debilitating disease and suffers should not be expected
to wait a further two years for treatment."
13, 2005: 10,000 extra clinical psychologists and therapists could
be recruited to treat people with depression - government adviser
Lord Richard Layard says ministers are "devoted to the idea"
6, 2004: No evidence that SSRI antidepressants likely to increase
suicidal behaviour, watchdog announces - guidelines also issued
for treatment of depression
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