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Independents' Day

GPs 'frozen out' of psychological therapies rollout

By Gareth Iacobucci

GPs fear they are being frozen out of the rollout of the Government's IAPT programme and that in some cases lack of consultation is putting existing services at risk.

Their concerns, expressed at the RCGP debate on psychological therapies last week, follow a warning from the charity Mind that IAPT has sucked funding from other mental health services.

Dr Andrew Elder, a former GP and a member of the primary care section of the Association of Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy, told the meeting GPs felt new services commissioned through the programme had sometimes overridden existing relationships.

He said: ‘What I hear on the ground is there has been a great problem in IAPT therapy services being implemented, sometimes at the expense of the professional relationships that the GPs had already built up themselves.

Dr Elder said it was vital GPs did not become disengaged from the delivery of services: ‘My main plea is for a real understanding of the work GPs do.'

Dr Tony Burch, a GP in Willesden Green, North West London, said his local service had been decommissioned without proper consultation with GPs.

‘We provide an excellent counselling service. It is going to represent a huge loss of a well liked and valued facility. GPs have been consulted on paper, but we haven't in practice.'

Lord Layard, whose work underpins the IAPT programme, said he was aware of the potential risk of disengaging GPs, but insisted there was a need to standardise the training of therapists and ensure they were offering evidence-based treatments.

GPs 'frozen out' of psychological therapies rollout Dr Tony Burch: 'It is going to be a huge loss'

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