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Warning on programme aims

A leading Government adviser has warned of a potential 'stand-off' between the departments of health and work and pensions over what the psychological therapy programme should aim to achieve.

His warning comes amid concerns that the programme will continue to focus predominantly on reducing worklessness, excluding patients who are not of working age.

Lord Layard, author of the 2006 Depression Report, which called for an expansion in psychological therapy, said it would be a 'disgrace' if the programme was allowed to suffer because of rows within Government.

He said: 'There's a danger of a stand-off between the Department of Health and the Department of Work and Pensions.

'It will be a real disgrace if the Improving Access to Psychological Therapies programme suffers. It will require everyone to be vocal if we want joined-up Government.'

Lord Layard, professor of economics and director of the centre for economic performance at the London School of Economics, made his comments at the Improving Access to Psychological Therapies stakeholder conference in London last week.

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