NHS England has launched an £11m scheme for patients with long-term conditions like diabetes and COPD to receive psychological therapy in their GP practices.
It said that the 2016/17 investment, which will be followed with a further £24m in 2017/18, will ‘kick start the commitment to fund an extra 3,000 mental health therapists in GP practices’, set out in the GP Forward View.
NHS England said that a pilot has showed that treating people’s physical and mental health problems ‘in an integrated way’ improves both their mental health and management of their long term condition. NHS England further said that ‘many people with anxiety disorders or depression also have a long term condition like diabetes or COPD.’
The scheme will focus initially on long term conditions ‘where the evidence of impact is strongest’, NHS England said, including diabetes, respiratory disease and cardiovascular disease. But therapists will also be assigned to people with cancer and medically unexplained symptoms such as chronic pain and chronic fatigue syndrome.
In all, 30 CCGs will receive part of the funding, which will run 22 schemes among them, expected to start seeing patients within the next three months.