BABCP Response - NICE Consultation January 2022

BBC Chooses To Ignore Talking Therapies 10% Recovery Rate

this morning BBC Radio 4 focussed on the problems caused by the Improving Access To Psychological Therapies (IAPT) long waiting lists (half more than 28 days)  but reiterated IAPT’s claim of a 50% recovery rate. But IAPT has only ever marked its’ own homework on recovery rates. I spent hours explaining to Radio 4 reporters that the true recovery rate is more likely 10% as detailed in my paper published in the Journal of Health Psychology last year, but they totally ignored this – shortening waiting time for something, that is most likely to be ineffective approaches pointlessness:

billions of £s have been spent on IAPT over the last decade all without any publicly funded independent assessment of outcome, this would never have been permitted in evaluating a drug. NHS England claimed IAPT has exceeded expectations , but can cite no independent evidence. NHS England have failed the public in terms of accountability. There are so many vested interests in IAPT that the great majority of patients are likely to continue to be short changed. The yardstick has to be the proportion of people who get back to their old selves post-treatment, my study of 90 IAPT clients found that only the tip of the iceberg recover. NHS England need to commit to a publicly funded independent assessment of IAPT using real world outcome measures such as loss of diagnostic status for at least 8 weeks.

There is a troubling alliance of powerholders BBC, IAPT, BABCP and BPS that is ignoring the real needs of those with mental health problems.


Dr Mike Scott


25 replies on “BBC Chooses To Ignore Talking Therapies 10% Recovery Rate”

I listened to that too Mike. Depressing, wasn’t it. By the end I was repeating in a monotone voice….”This is not the story, This is not the story. This is not the story.” Then up pops David Clarke with his post-truth drivel about IAPT helping two-thirds of patients that are treated. I don’t think it’s a conspiracy on the part of the BBC, but it drives me to despair that producers and interviewers aren’t grasping what the real story is: chronic attrition and manipulation of outcome data.

I heard the interview this morning and was very disappointed with how easy it seemed the questions asked let David Clark ‘off the hook’. For instance interviewer states so there is no hidden waiting list’ Clark states there isn’t and that iapt is transparent about this so interview concludes ‘Bob’s your uncle’ …& everything is legit . Oh well more propaganda from the IAPT machine I suppose .

Was IAPT ever really about helping those with mental health problems? I read ‘Thrive’ from cover to cover and that’s not what came across to me at all. Isn’t it all about saving loads of money by a) making mentally ill people work or stay in unsuitable work and b) cutting the NHS physical healthcare budget by persuading patients that their physical health problems are caused by mental problems?

And if they’re prioritising LTC and MUS patients now (to get their 2/3rds of new recruits from these two groups to try to maximize NHS savings) then surely it’s little surprise if everyone else has to wait a long time for treatment?

Chronic attrition and manipulation of outcome data just about sums it up Barry. I think you are absolutely right Kojay sometime in the hopefully not too distant future, people will look back with incredulity at such a massive waste of money without any discernible benefit. Chuck you are right about the propaganda for IAPT, paradoxically there is less evidence for the effectiveness of IAPT than there is for antidepressants and it is doubtful that the latter make a clinically significant difference, but there is ever escalating marketing of them. The propaganda machines in both instances are gargantuan. Little bit of good news Liz, my paper on IAPT and MUS is very close to final acceptance for publication.

I’ll look forward to that Mike. (The situation with respect to MUS is really grim now, especially with its expansion into A+E – sick patients being sent home un-investigated and untreated.)

I should have said in my previous comment – I’m sure the IAPT therapists/PWPs do their very best to try to help their clients, it’s the system that’s wrong, it’s a flawed model.

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