By Smitha Mundasad
The RCGP and other organisations have launched a major campaign to make better access to psychological therapies an election issue.
The campaign led by the RCGP, Royal College of Psychiatrists and the mental health charity, Mind, urges all political parties to pledge that within five years the NHS will offer access to psychological therapies within 28 days for all who need them in their election manifestos.
While NICE guidelines recommend psychological therapies for children and adults with mental health problems, the RCGP claims access can be 'patchy' for adult services and there is little access for children. GPs report that they are often unable to refer suitable patients for psychological help, and face long waiting times for therapies.
RCGP chair Professor Steve Field said: 'We believe that there needs to be better access to psychological therapies in line with NICE guidelines. Indeed there is a right under the NHS constitution.
'We support fully the campaign to ensure that adequate funding continues to go into training therapists, rolling out talking therapies across England and making provision for children. Even if there is a financial squeeze, the evidence is there that the country will save money in the short and long term.'