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Depression care scandal

Last week, the Government declared in its White Paper that it wanted to see everyone who needed it having access to psychological therapies.

Last week, the Government declared in its White Paper that it wanted to see everyone who needed it having access to psychological therapies.

This week, a study came out showing just how far away that ideal is. Fewer than half of community health teams surveyed were providing talking therapies for elderly patients. An alarming minority were providing no service at all. And waiting times were in the many months.

None of this will come as a great surprise to the many GPs who endure everyday frustration trying to access psychological therapies. But what might startle is how little is known about the severity of the problem.

Putting on pressure

The Government, scandalously, holds no figures for the breadth of access or for waiting times. Charities and professional groups respond to queries with a frustrated shrug. But without the numbers, it is next to impossible to put pressure on ministers to translate vague aspirations into firm commitments for change.

That's why Pulse is this week launching a major investigation into access to depression services. We will be collating figures on access at a national level.

But we are also asking you, as GPs, about the services in your area.

There's a digital camera on offer to one lucky GP, but the real value will be in the information we generate for the benefit of doctors and patients.

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