We Rejoice In Reliable Cancer Screens But Accept The Incompetence Of Mental Health Screens – Time To Sue

Nobody would accept unreliable cancer screens, but mental health screens are conducted in IAPT (Improving Access to Psychological Therapies) by Psychological Wellbeing Practitioners (PWPs), the least well qualified practitioners and conducted over the telephone in a 20-30 minute ‘assessment’.

Tell me this is ok:

  1. Ms B underwent a telephone assessment after which her GP was informed that she had a PHQ9 score over 10 and GAD7 score over 8 and was being placed on a waiting list f or a psychoeducational group at step 3. No indication of what she apparently screened positive for, nor what evidence based treatment was proposed for the said condition/s.
  2. 5 months later the GP writes in her notes that Ms B did not attend IAPT and is worrying about everything and added ‘tried counselling doesn’t feel useful’
  3. 15 months after her initial telephone assessment she has another IAPT telephone assessment, by a PWP from the Screening Team and the GP is informed that her PHQ9 is 19 and GAD7 is 9. Further she has suicidal thoughts but no plans and the GP is reminded that she took an overdose years ago. The PWP added that they were going to put her on a waiting list for a face to face assessment and had given her the phone number of the Samaritans.

If a patient had telephone consultations with a GP over an unexplained lump, with no face to face assessment or treatment conducted in 15 months, there would be outrage. A Personal Injury claim would likely be mounted, yet this is accepted without a raised eyebrow in the mental health sphere. I don’t think anything will change until someone sues IAPT.

Dr Mike Scott