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Limited CBT access pledge

The Government has pledged to expand access to psychological therapies in primary care ­ but has stopped short of making concrete commitments.

The White Paper outlines plans to develop new roles for GPs with special interest and graduate primary care workers, support PCTs to deliver computerised cognitive behaviour therapy and set up pilot sites to build up the evidence base on CBT.

GPs said it was encouraging ministers were recognising there were problems with depression services, but criticised the failure to produce a firm delivery plan.

Dr Mayur Lakhani, RCGP chair, said: 'This does not go far enough. We know what needs to be done and what works.

'Psychological therapies including CBT based in practices can transform care for patients and support for GPs. We would like to have seen an actual commitment for rolling out such therapies.'

Dr Nigel Watson, chief executive of Wessex LMCs, said: 'It's fantastic, I'm looking forward to all these people coming in.

'But my whole concern about the White Paper is that it sounds very sensible but when you have PCTs that are £12,000 in deficit how are they going to invest in CBT?'

Dr Watson, who has very little local access to psychological therapies, insisted: 'We need central direction.'

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