Nurses could help turn more people onto talking therapies as more than half of all CCGs are revealed to be missing their targets for getting people with mental health problems into counselling.
The figures, from NHS England's mental health dashboard, shows that nearly six in 10 CCGs (57%) are failing to meet the target for the proportion of people in their area that should be accessing talking therapies. It showed that 120 out of 209 CCGs in England missed the target for October-December 2016.
Currently, NHS England’s annual target is set at 15.8% of the local population who have been identified as being able to benefit from talking therapies. The target is set to rise to 25% by 2021.
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Mind’s director of external relations Sophie Corlett said: ‘We have seen talking therapy services set up across the country in recent years and access to services has improved, but we can’t afford to let up the pace of change. It’s important to keep up momentum and make sure all local areas are on track to meet that 25 per cent target over the coming years.
‘Mental health services have been woefully underfunded for years, but as more people come forward and seek help, it’s vital that quality timely services are in place to meet increasing demand. There has been recent national investment, which is welcome, but we need to see that investment making a difference locally.
‘No matter where you live in the country, we want to see everyone access the help they need, when they need it.’
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NHS Clinical Commissioners (NHSCC) responded to the data by saying they were ‘serious and ambitious’ about improving access to talking treatment due to the impact poor mental healthcare can have on people over their lives.
Chair of the NHSCC’s mental health commissioners network Dr Phil Moore said: ‘We are working very hard in CCGs to find ways of achieving the target for talking therapies and ensure that people are able to access the services that will benefit them.
‘We must acknowledge that there are many high priority competing demands on finite budgets making it almost inevitable that some CCGs will not achieve the target set for them. The GPs and nurses in CCGs will keep working hard to raise their commissioning to deliver the best talking treatment services.
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‘Nurses, like GPs, play a really important part in helping identify people who would benefit from talking therapies and helping to make sure they are referred for treatment, whether through doing this directly or supporting them to self-refer if appropriate.’