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Huge backlogs of people waiting for NHS counselling in York and Selby
SIGNIFICANT underfunding has caused lengthy waiting lists for counselling in York and Selby, the medical trust responsible for the service has said.
There are huge backlogs of people waiting for NHS counselling in York and Selby, with more than 300 people in need of high-intensity counselling for conditions including severe depression and post-traumatic stress disorder being put on a 14-month waiting list.
More than 200 people with conditions including mild and moderate depression and anxiety are on a four-month wait for low-intensity counselling called Improving Access to Psychological Services (IAPT).
The lists are long because the service is significantly underfunded, with clear “inequalities of funding” compared with Leeds, said Jill Copeland, chief operating officer at Leeds and York Partnership NHS Foundation Trust which runs the service.
NHS commissioners are required to pay for IAPT services for 15 per cent of people with common mental health problems by 2015, but Ms Copeland said this year the Trust was commissioned to provide IAPT services for only 2.8 per cent of people with common mental health problems in York and North Yorkshire. The coverage actually achieved was 3.2 per cent.
She said: “We spend everything the commissioner gives us on IAPT services, but the issue for us is the commissioner isn’t providing the funding recommended to hit the national targets for the service. Because we haven’t got enough funding to provide for the population as set nationally, we have got waiting lists for that service.”
She said the Trust was looking at ways to cut the waiting list times by using group therapies, online phone services where possible as well as training people to carry out high-intensity IAPT services.
Ms Copeland emphasised that IAPT was only one of the many services offered in York and Selby. She said people with mental health problems should go to their GP and the implementation of a new “single point of access” team will make the referral system more effective.
The Vale of York Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), which has paid for health services since April, is under significant pressure. The group inherited a £3.5 million deficit from the Primary Care Trust and faces further Government cutbacks.
Under a new formula, the Vale of York looks set to lose nearly £5 million in funding from its budget.
Speaking this week, Professor Alan Maynard, lay chair of the Vale of York CCG, said talks were under way to try and provide counselling services.
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