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MPs urged to double psychological therapy in the NHS

Counselling-140pAt a meeting in Parliament on Tuesday 1 July, MPs will be urged to double the provision of psychological therapy in the National Health Service by Professors Richard Layard and David Clark from LSE’s Centre for Economic Performance.

They will present data that irrefutably prove the economic case for increased access to psychological therapy in the NHS, demonstrating that the savings to the taxpayer of providing treatment greatly outweigh the cost of the treatments themselves.

David Clark will show the high success rates of modern evidence-based psychological therapies such as CBT (cognitive behavioural therapy). Combined with Richard Layard’s economics, these findings demand a radically new priority for psychological therapy within the NHS:

  • The average cost of treatment for depression or anxiety disorders is only £650, but 50 per cent of those treated recover and many others improve substantially. If someone comes off Employment Support Allowance, the savings are £650 a month. These savings are enough to pay for the whole cost of a radical expansion of psychological therapy in the NHS.
  • In addition, for any given physical illness, people who also have mental health problems cost, on average, an extra £2,000 a year in physical healthcare – which costs the NHS £10 billion a year in total. If more psychological therapy were available, the cost of the therapy would be completely covered by the savings on physical healthcare.
  • Employers would gain too, since mental health problems account for almost 50 per cent of the days that people take off sick.
  • National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) guidelines recommend that all people with depression or anxiety disorders should be offered psychological therapy. Yet at present only about 13 per cent of them are seen by the NHS Improving Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT) programme. Professors Layard and Clark argue that in the next Parliament this should be raised drastically to 25 per cent.

Layard and Clark’s argument is published in a new book, Thrive: the power of evidence-based psychological therapies, that will be published by Allen Lane/Penguin on 3 July.

The meeting is co-sponsored by four All-Party Parliamentary Groups, and the other speakers at the meeting will be Norman Lamb MP, Tracey Crouch MP, Alastair Campbell and a former patient.

Posted: 1 July 2014

For more information please contact:

LSE Centre for Economic Performance Tel: +44 (0)20 7955 7673, Email: cep.info@lse.ac.uk.