​Improving Access to Psychological Therapies


The CCG is working to transform the current Improving Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT) service.  We know that the service is underperforming and there are long waiting times for patients whose preference is to have face to face therapy sessions. By April 2019 there will be a new IAPT service in place, following a procurement process which will include; a wellbeing service (which will cover social prescribing) and a primary care recovery service (for patients discharged from hospital with severe mental illness).

Engagement activity

To help inform the service specification, 4 focus groups were held between May and August 2018 with the CCG's Patient Engagement Group, Focus 4 1 Mental Health Voice Forum, Merton Mental Health Forum and a service user and carer meeting. 

The groups discussed mental wellbeing, IAPT services and primary care recovery. 

Feedback themes included:

  • waiting times to access services
  • training for healthcare professionals and service user involvement in this
  • lack of awareness of the service
  • need for peer support or befrienders to complement care
  • need for increased access to Recovery and Crisis Cafés
  • access to specialist advice on employment and welfare benefits
  • challenges with transition between adult and children's services
  • need for longer term support
  • continuity of care
  • greater role for signposting
  • support needed for clinicians to understand available services
  • greater support needed on discharge from hospital
  • challenges and benefits of data sharing
  • need for education in schools about drug usage and its ties to mental health

Encouragingly it was felt that integration between secondary and primary care is currently working well and that having service users on interview panels was practice that should continue. 

The current specification emphasises establishing a service user group – it was felt this needed to be expanded to ensure the groups had clear terms of reference and were pro-active in engaging with community sector and voluntary groups.

Visit our you said, we did page to see how feedback influenced the final service.