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Ministers told to act on depression

A senior Government adviser has urged ministers to develop 250 psychological treatment centres to transform GPs' access to talking therapy. Lord Richard Layard recommended a network of centres across the country to support 10,000 new therapists ­ in line with Pulse's 'Action on Depression' campaign demands.

The Department of Health told Pulse it would shortly be announcing a 'programme of work' for improving access to psychological therapies, raising hopes that it plans to implement the recommendations.

Writing in the BMJ, Lord Layard, emeritus professor at the London School of Economics, said the Government should aim to roll out 40 new centres a year for seven years.

He said: 'These teams would operate on a "hub and spoke basis", with the senior therapists based in one building, but the bulk of therapy being delivered in general practices, job centres, workplaces, voluntary organisations, etc.'

He said 800,000 patients a year would need treatment.

A department spokesperson said: 'A programme of work is currently being put together to deliver the manifesto and White Paper commitment to improve access to psychological therapies. We will make an announcement shortly.'

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