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Access to talking therapies needs to improve in UK

Monday 3rd July 2017
Almost six in ten CCGs missed their talking therapies target at the end of 2016, new figures show. Image: shironosov via iStock
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    Greater action is needed to improve access to talking therapies in the UK, a new report states.
    New figures published by NHS England show that more than half (57 per cent) of the country's clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) are currently failing to meet their talking therapies targets.
    At present, the NHS rules that CCGs should be providing counselling or other forms of talking therapy to 15.8 per cent of the people identified as able to benefit from this type of treatment in their local area, with this set to rise to 25 per cent by 2021.
    However, it was found that 120 out of 209 CCGs across the country failed to meet this target for the October to December 2016 period. As a result, a significant number of people may have missed out on vital mental health support that could have made a big difference to their overall wellbeing.
    A spokesperson for NHS England stated: "The NHS now has the biggest programme for talking therapies in the world - more people are receiving mental health care than ever before, with nearly 80,000 people entering treatment each month.
    "Huge strides forward have been made, but there is much more work to do to drive further improvements to ensure the right care is available across the country at the right time."
    Sophie Corlett, director of external relations at mental health charity Mind, added that the NHS cannot "let up the pace of change", as it is only a small proportion of the people deemed eligible for talking therapy who are able to access it in the first place, so targets need to at least be met, if not exceeded.
    With the target set to rise to 25 per cent over the next few years, more opportunities may be created for mental health support workers with experience in delivering talking therapies in order to help achieve this goal.
    Written by Angela Newbury
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