By Nigel Praities
Widening access to psychological therapies is already having a dramatic effect on the number of patients on sick leave due to mental health problems, initial figures show.
Figures shown exclusively to Pulse suggest the previous Government's vaunted IAPT programme is far exceeding expectations.
The results of a preliminary investigation of the NHS East of England IAPT programme show it has helped nearly 1,200 people off sick pay and benefits from between October 2008 and June 2010 well exceeding its target to bring 1,000 off benefits nine months early.
Also by June 2010, the programme met expectations on the number of patients showing significant recovery from their illness early – around 50% of patients entering the programme were found to be ‘moving towards recovery' across the region, with the best service showing results of nearly 60%.
Pulse revealed earlier this year that the IAPT programme was not only having a measurable impact on reducing rates of depression and anxiety, but also was reducing hospital admissions, length of stay, outpatient activity and attendance at casualty.
Dr John Hague, a GP in Ipswich and IAPT programme clinical lead for NHS East of England, said they had been ‘bowled over' by success of the programme, and in particular the effect on helping patients off benefits and in employment.
‘These results reflect the very hard work put in by many people to make the programme a success. These patients previously had no resource other than their GP's prescription pad,' he said.IAPT has helped nearly 1,200 patients off benefits in the east of England