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BABCP welcomes £170million boost for CBT

The BABCP today warmly welcomed Health Secretary Alan Johnson's announcement of a £170 million expansion in psychological therapies.

BABCP President David Veale said the announcement would increase access to CBT for hundreds of thousands of people and mean more than 3,000 new therapists would be needed.

Dr Veale said: "This is fantastic news for all those people who have been waiting for access to CBT. It will mean a massive expansion of CBT right across the country with thousands more therapists trained and employed.

"This is probably the single biggest step forward in the provision of CBT that we have ever seen in Britain. It also means that mental health is now taking centre-stage and being recognised by the Government as a major issue for our times.

"This announcement is a tribute to the BABCP, as the lead organisation for CBT in the UK and for a host of other mental health organisations who have been campaigning with us for an expansion of therapy for years. We are delighted."

The Government will next year roll out psychological therapies to twenty new areas before increasing services to cover the whole country over the next few years.

Mr Johnson, who was speaking on World Mental Health Day, said: "More than one in six people suffer from mental health problems at any one time. For many people prescribing medication is a successful treatment but we know that psychological therapies work equally well.

"Today's announcement shows the government's commitment to mental health. Improving access to psychological therapies will give people with mental health problems a real choice of treatment, helping to reduce dependence on medication."

Psychological therapies, such as CBT, have proved to be as effective as drugs in tackling common mental health problems and are often more effective in the longer term. NICE guidelines on treatment for depression and anxiety recommend therapies such as cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT).

Building on the two demonstration projects at Newham and Doncaster, by 2010/11, the NHS will spend £170m per year on psychological therapies, with more than £30m in 2008/09 and more than £100m in 2009/10. Over the next three years, this investment in Improving Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT) will mean:

- 900,000 more people treated for depression and anxiety
- 450,000 of them are likely to be completely cured (as expected with NICE guidelines)
- 25,000 fewer people with mental health problems on sick pay and benefits
- 3,600 more newly trained psychological therapists giving evidence-based treatment
- all GP practices having access to psychological therapies as the programme rolls out
- average waiting for psychological treatments down from the current 18 months to a few weeks (in line with urgent outpatient waiting times in the rest of the NHS) as the service rolls out

Lord Richard Layard, co-author of the London School of Economics Depression Report, who has campaigned for an expansion in CBT, said: "This is great news and just what we've all been waiting for. Mental health is the biggest social problem in our country. This new service will bring relief from misery to millions of people."

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