IAPT – The Need For A Product Recall

In response to David Clark’s blog ‘IAPT at 10’ on the NHS England website, I wrote: ‘If NHS England invited the manufacturer of a pharmaceutical to review the growth and successes of its’ drug over the last decade eyebrows would be raised. Yet this is precisely what has happened in asking David Clark to comment on his baby (IAPT) with whom he has an ongoing commitment and financial arrangement. In terms of publication bias his piece is off the scale.

No Independent Replication

There has never been independent replication of IAPT’s claim to 50% recovery. My own work, which is wholly independent of IAPT and was published in the Journal of Health Psychology   last year (see link below)  suggests a 10% recovery rate.

https://www.dropbox.com/s/flvxtq2jyhmn6i1/IAPT%20The%20Need%20for%20Radical%20Reform.pdf?dl=0

Questionnaires Rather Than An Independently Administered Standardised Diagnostic Interview

IAPT relies on questionnaires completed by clients with the full knowledge of the treating clinician, introducing a ‘demand’ element into the proceedings. Further there is in IAPT’s procedures no way of knowing that the questionnaire/s are tapping the disorder/s that are germane to the client. 

No Evidence of An Added Value To IAPT When Compared With Findings Before Its’ Inception

The changes in questionnaire scores observed in IAPT clients are no different to those observed on self-report measures administered to clients going through counselling before the advent of IAPT. The Mullin (2006) findings (see link below) are the appropriate counterfactual and indicate no added value to IAPT.

https://www.dropbox.com/s/8a4qv5r13rotkyy/Appropriate%20Counterfactual%20Mullin%202006.pdf?dl=0

Clients present for therapy at their worst and some improvement with time would inevitably be visible on a questionnaire, IAPT has provided no evidence that clients given simply attention would not have shown the same changes to those observed.

The Jettisoning of Evaluation Guidelines

Entry into Pharmaceutical/Psychological Studies is governed by the administration of a standardised diagnostic interview. Outcome is determined by blind re-administration of the interview at the end of treatment and follow up. In line with this, an international team of Experts [Guidi et al (2018) see link below] have developed evaluation guidelines stipulating the need for blind independent assessment of psychological interventions. All IAPT generated studies have breached these guidelines.

https://www.dropbox.com/s/hizta38yqm4lfh3/Methodological%20Recommendations%20for%20Trials%20of%20Psychological%20Interventions.pdf?dl=0

Countries that do not look at psychological interventions through the lens of such evaluation guidelines will be taken in by IAPT’s marketing prowess. Unfortunately many such countries have shown such gullibility in the last decade.

Failure to Engage and Treat Clients

IAPT loudly proclaims the very large number of clients that it makes contact with but this is meaningless when their trajectory is considered. Half of those referred to or referring themselves to IAPT   have less than 2 treatment sessions.  The mean number of sessions attended for those who have 2 or more sessions is 6, there is no NICE approved treatment for a psychological disorder that requires just 6 sessions.  It is scarcely credible that IAPT is providing an evidence based treatment on any scale. There is an an independent re-analysis of the IAPT data in the link below

http://therapymeetsnumbers.com/is-iapt-too-big-to-fail/

A Failure of Governance

IAPT is essentially a QUANGO dependent on NHS England, and committed to expansion but without any observance of evaluation guidelines.  NHS England has taken IAPT’s claims at face value, as a consequence Clinical Commissioning Groups focus only on operational matter, numbers, waiting times etc with no focus on clinical matters in their interactions with IAPT. The National Audit Office conducted an inquiry into IAPT but has failed to publish its’ results. There has been a gross failure of governance by public bodies and their representatives.

Only The Voice Of IAPT’s Hierarchy Is Listened To

There has been no attempt by public bodies to independently seek the views of consumers of IAPT services. However an IAPT teacher, Jason Roscoe has publicly made a blistering attack on the service, see link below

https://www.dropbox.com/s/myz53dyn8zqhj13/Has%20IAPT%20become%20a%20bit%20like%20Frankenstein.docx?dl=0

He reflects ‘the gap between what the literature advises and what management allow seems to be widening leaving the patients as the ones who are being given sub-therapeutic, watered-down CBT’ and adds ‘The result? A revolving door where patients return in quick succession for multiple episodes of treatment with a different therapist each time…..not only this IAPT also seems to be making its own workers ill with reports of compassion fatigue and burnout not uncommon’.

The views of the 90 IAPT clients I examined were almost wholly negative and indicated the need to transform IAPT see link below

https://www.dropbox.com/s/zhr1fkg71aqvno0/Transforming%20IAPT.pdf?dl=0

IAPT The Need For Product Recall

There are such serious doubts about what IAPT has delivered over the last decade, that if it were a piece of machinery the product would have been recalled. A decade ago I wrote a book on how CBT can be delivered, with fidelity to evidence based treatment protocols, [Scott (2009) Simply Effective Cognitive Behaviour Therapy, London: Routledge], there is a pressing need to review such provision. In private communication with David Clark I have acknowledged that my approach would make the assessment process more costly. However the evidence of the past decade is that it is not possible to make a real world difference to client’s lives without closely following the procedures involved in randomised controlled trials of CBT. Departure from reliable assessment, diagnosis, advice/treatment results in a failure to translate efficacious treatments to routine practice’.

Unfortunately NHS England only permits upto 1000 character comments on their invited blogs, so essentially only the 1st paragraph of this blog will likely appear.

Dr Mike Scott

‘Attempts to Justify The Cost-Effectiveness of IAPT…Severely Lacking’

this is the conclusion of a recently published study in the Journal of Health Psychology

https://doi.org/10.1177%2F1359105318803751

Scott Steen, the author of the the new cost-benefit analysis, comments ‘The first limitation concerns the high proportion of early disengagement which, according to the latest annual report, around 40 per cent of those entering treatment attend one session only (IAPT, 2018). Within the same annual report, approximately 43 per cent of assessed-only referrals were deemed suitable but declined treatment, while
23 per cent were deemed not suitable, and only 9 per cent were discharged by mutual agreement following advice and support (IAPT, 2018). The second limitation concerns the heavy reliance on brief, self-report measures and lack of long-term outcomes which, when using more in-depth and longitudinal techniques, have found intervention effects to be diminished or even temporary (Ali et al., 2017; Cairns, 2013; Hepgul et al., 2016; Marks, 2018; Scott, 2018)’.

Steen continues ‘research used to justify the economic benefits of the IAPT programme has little relevance for how it delivers and evaluates interventions. For instance, Layard and Clark (2014) cite a study conducted by Fournier et al. (2015) to justify the potential rate at which individuals move from incapacity benefits into employment. However, this specific study focuses only on patients who had recovered from severe depression, were assessed using structured clinical interviews and diagnostic criteria, and were treated by highly trained practitioners, the majority of whom had PhDs. Similarly, research into the long-term effects of interventions appears to have been selectively chosen, omitting the generally limited to mixed findings in this area (Marks, 2018)’.

In summary Steen opines:

Taken as a whole, the IAPT programme seems to be delivering treatment at an inefficient cost. Although outcome targets are being reached, this appears to be due to an increased emphasis on low-intensity styled provision which not only drives up costs-per-IAPT outcome but also potentially reduces the appropriateness of treatment allocation and sustainability of these outcomes’.

All CCGs should be asked to consider this study.

 

Dr Mike Scott

Independent Critiques of IAPT – Special Journal Issue Open Access

Independent assessments suggest that IAPT is not making a ‘real world’, socially significant difference to client’s lives, albeit that further research is needed. In the Special Issue of the Journal of Health Psychology for August 2018, ways forward are suggested.

 

 

Contents of Special Section of August 2018 Issue of the Journal of Health Psychology ALL OPEN ACCESS

http://journals.sagepub.com/action/showTocPdf?volume=23&issue=9&journalCode=hpqa

IAPT Under The Microscope David F Marks https://files.acrobat.com/a/preview/d142501a-6727-4002-b1c6-9222174610de

Improving Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT) – The Need For Radical Reform              Michael J Scott

http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/pdf/10.1177/1359105318755264

The diagnosis is correct but National Institute of Health and Care Excellence are part of the problem not the solution Sami Timimi

http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/pdf/10.1177/1359105318766139

Attempting to reconcile large differences in Improving Access to Psychological Therapies recovery rates Scott H Waltman http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/pdf/10.1177/1359105318767158

Medical approaches to suffering are limited, so why critique Improving Access to Psychological Therapies from the same ideology James Binnie 

http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/pdf/10.1177/1359105318769323

Transforming Access To Psychological Therapies Michael J Scott 

http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/pdf/10.1177/1359105318781873

 

Dr Mike Scott

 

 

‘What, If Anything, Is Beyond The Glitz Of IAPT?’ Asks Journal Editor

‘IAPT Talking Therapies All Glitz and No Substance?’  is the title of a Press Release from the Editor of the Journal of Health Psychology, Dr David Marks, The Press release reads:

 

 

‘The Journal of Health Psychology is calling for an urgent independent review of patient recovery rates
with the NHS ‘Improving Access to Psychological Therapies’ (IAPT) talking therapies programme.

A recent study by Dr. Michael Scott revealed that only one in ten mental health patients actually
recovered (http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/full/10.1177/1359105318755264).

Now JHP editor, Dr David F Marks, is calling for IAPT recovery rates to be closely scrutinized. He
wants solid evidence that patients who have recovered stay well over the long term.

Michael Scott’s study found that overall just 9.2% of patients recovered with IAPT therapies. There is
an enormous gap of 40% between these findings and IAPT’s claimed recovery figure.
The study’s recovery rates were: Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder – 16.2%, depression – 14.9%, other
mental disorders including anxiety – 2.2%.

Dr Scott, Consultant Psychologist and Expert Witness to the Courts, suggested “a pressing need to reexamine…the service”. IAPT’s economic model hinges on good recovery rates and high recruitment.
The contributors to this Special Issue of the journal, “IAPT Under the Microscope”, have all expressed
doubts about the veracity of IAPT’s recovery claims. They agree that there’s a need for an independent
assessment of the type that a drug treatment would require before being approved for use.
The theory is that better mental health will lead to fewer physical health problems so that patients will
need less care. High recovery rates should then yield the promised hefty ‘efficiency’ savings to the
physical healthcare budget that will pay for the IAPT service.

The IAPT spotlight is on patients with ‘medically unexplained symptoms’ (MUS) and ‘long-term
conditions’ (LTCs) such as diabetes and COPD. This expansion into areas beyond its already
questionable expertise is likely to be clinically risky. Experts and patients are worried about the motives behind this and concerned that a mental health diagnosis will allow providers to restrict access to healthcare and other benefits. Can these therapies really reduce patients’ physical problems and their need for care, or is this an NHS version of a ‘hostile environment’?

The programme continues to grow as more local therapy services are rolled out across England. IAPT
aims to enrol over a million patients per year but the system is already creaking under the strain.
In his Editorial, Dr Marks proposes an open debate about England’s flagship IAPT project that has so
far cost the taxpayer around £1 billion. He calls for an independent, expert review to determine if IAPT
is likely to reap the promised rewards or asks if is it all glitz and no substance?

Notes to editors

Marks, D.F. (Ed.) (2018). “IAPT Under the Microscope” published online and in print on 26 July 2018.
http://journals.sagepub.com/home/hpq [see copy attached to email]

Scott, M.J. (2018). Improving Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT) – The Need for Radical
Reform. Journal of Health Psychology, http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/full/10.1177/1359105318755264

Contact

Dr Michael J Scott, author of the IAPT study, is available at: 07580 644 038
michaeljscott1@virginmedia.com

Dr David F Marks, Editor of the Journal of Health Psychology, is available at: 07930 753 206 ;
editorjhp@gmail.com

 

Dr Mike Scott

Subjective Measures Are Insufficient – Lessons from CBT for ME/CFS

The  results of the PACE trial of CBT plus graded exercise for CFS have just been confirmed by a review of 5 Dutch studies

https://www.researchgate.net/publication/322956569_An_analysis_of_Dutch_hallmark_studies_confirms_the_outcome_of_the_PACE_trial_cognitive_behaviour_therapy_with_a_graded_activity_protocol_is_not_effective_for_chronic_fatigue_syndrome_and_Myalgic_Encep , the author’s concluded ‘ Improvements on subjective measures (self-report questionnaires), which are sensitive to placebo effects, response bias, buy-in effects and other psychological effects , isn’t reflected by an improvement in objective measures’. This was illustrated by the finding that 32% of the patients in the non-intervention group reported clinically significant improvement afterwards.

 

IAPT justifies itself wholly in terms of changes on psychometric tests, alleging a 50% recovery. However there has been no independent examination to determine the proportion totally free of symptoms by the end of treatment. My own work in fact suggests just a 10% recovery,https://www.dropbox.com/s/flvxtq2jyhmn6i1/IAPT%20The%20Need%20for%20Radical%20Reform.pdf?dl=0 . In mid July the Journal of Health Psychology is publishing an Open Access Special Issue ‘IAPT Under the Microscope’ in which these issues are explored further, with 4 contributors, including myself and a missive from the Editor, Dr David Marks.

 

Dr Mike Scott

Institutional Bias Against Independent Monitoring of Mental Health Outcomes

There is no parity between the ongoing assessment of physical and mental health problems, there is an institutionalised bias against the latter. Patients increasingly refer themselves to IAPT (a 100% in Blackpool) , the GP simply hands them the telephone number and only sends in a report in unusual circumstances e.g a patient too frightened to ring and book the standard telephone assessment.

 

Whilst the GP’s are increasingly freed from this administrative burden, it removes a baseline against which to independently measure a patients progress through IAPT. The latter continues to mark its’ own homework, claiming a 50% recovery, but Scott’s study (2018) suggests the true figure is just 10% https://www.dropbox.com/s/flvxtq2jyhmn6i1/IAPT%20The%20Need%20for%20Radical%20Reform.pdf?dl=0.

 

Dr Mike Scott

IAPT Is a Car Crash – Transforming IAPT

IAPT (Improving Access to Psychological Therapies) is a car crash, funded by the taxpayer to the tune of £1bn, but without any insurance for the public. Staff are stressed out and there is a 10% recovery rate for clients. The National Audit Office (NAO) recently investigated IAPT but have chosen not to make its’ findings  public. I pursued a Freedom of Information Request but the NAO’s response has shed no light on their decision making. These findings are contained in my just published paper ‘Transforming IAPT’ in the Journal of Health Psychology:

 

 

the abstract reads:

The three commentaries on my paper ‘IAPT – The Need for Radical Reform’ are agreed that Improving Access to Psychological Therapies cannot be regarded as the ‘gold standard’ for the delivery of psychological therapy services. Furthermore, they agreed that Improving Access to Psychological Therapies should not continue to mark its ‘own homework’ and should be subjected to rigorous independent evaluation scrutiny. It is a matter for a public enquiry to ascertain why £1 billion has been spent on Improving Access to Psychological Therapies without any such an independent evaluation. What is interesting is that no commentary has been forthcoming from the UK Improving Access to Psychological Therapies service nor have they shared a platform to discuss these issues. It is regrettable that the UK Government’s National Audit Office has chosen, to date, not to publish its own investigation into the integrity of Improving Access to Psychological Therapies data. Openness would be an excellent starting point for the necessary transformation of Improving Access to Psychological Therapies.

 

Dr Mike Scott

The diagnosis is correct, but National Institute of Health and Care Excellence guidelines are part of the problem not the solution

This is the title of a Commentary on my paper ‘IAPT – The Need for Radical Reform https://connection.sagepub.com/blog/psychology/2018/02/07/on-sage-insight-improving-access-to-psychological-therapies-iapt-the-need-for-radical-reform/ published in the Journal of Health Psychology, by Sami Timimi the link is: Article first published online: March 30, 2018

https://doi.org/10.1177/1359105318766139 

 

Two further commentaries are in the pipeline, with my commentary on the commentaries to be published in the Summer, in a Special issue of the Journal. Timimi’s comments/data on Childrens and Young Persons IAPT are particularly interesting.

Special thanks to Donna Botomley for all the help she has given in the construction and maintenance of this site and she is retiring from this role. As many of you might know technology, particularly social media is not my forte, any comments always welcome.

Regards

 

Mike Scott

Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCG’s) Incredibly Naive Re: IAPT

CCG’s are rubber stamping the funding of IAPT services, without questioning the alleged 50% recovery rate for depression and the anxiety disorders. But CCG’s would never give approval to the dissemination of a psychotropic drug based solely on the manufacturer’s claim. It seems that GP’s on CCG’s are too busy to critically appraise IAPT’s claim.  CCG members need to ask why £1bn has been spent on IAPT services that have never been independently evaluated using a rigorous methodology.  My own, by no means definitive study of 90 consecutive attenders at IAPT suggests a 10% recovery rate [ the paper ‘IAPT The Need for Radical Reform’ can be accessed by selecting below and right clicking https://connection.sagepub.com/blog/psychology/2018/02/07/on-sage-insight-improving-access-to-psychological-therapies-iapt-the-need-for-radical-reform/].  CCG’s are like the Titanic, heading towards an iceberg, on board are not only depressed and anxiety disorders passengers but a recent cohort of those with long term physical health conditions and medically unexplained symptoms:

 

 

Via my MP, Maria Eagle I put the following questions to the Liverpool CCG, (one of the CCGs covering the IAPT clients I examined in the North West) and their response dated March 6th 2018 was as follows:

Question 1.

 

Are the CCG aware that the recovery rate in the IAPT Service they fund is just 10% (far short of the 50% recovery rate targeted by Alan Johnson, then Labour Minister in 2007 when the service was set up).

 

Response 1.

 

Latest local data indicates that the current recovery rate for the service stands at 50%, targets for access and recovery are under regular review with performance reported to NHS England and published nationally and through LCCG Governing Body papers.

 

Question 2.

 

What, if any independent data do the CCG use in assessing the IAPT Service? Response 2.

All IAPT services must assess their performance using nationally mandated measures contained within the IAPT Minimum Data Set (v1.5). Information on these measures and the outcomes achieved by IAPT services can be obtained from NHS Digital.

 

Question 3.

 

Why have the CCG never asked IAPT service users their opinion of the service? Response 3.

All IAPT services routinely ask every IAPT service user their opinion of the services using 2 measures, the Patient Experience Questionnaire (Assessment) and the Patient Experience Questionnaire (Treatment). Information on these measures and the patient satisfaction levels achieved by IAPT services can be obtained from NHS Digital.

 

Question 4.

 

Why do the CCG consider it acceptable to continue to fund a service, were assessments are conducted by telephone by the least experienced and qualified staff? Are they supporting a double standard for physical and mental health?

 

Response 4.

 

LCCG has commissioned a service in line with NICE guidance both in terms of accessibility and responsiveness, but also the required skills of staff employed by the service.

 

Question 5.

 

What steps will the CCG take to ensure that evidence based treatment takes place in IAPT? Response 5.

All treatment provided by Talk Liverpool conforms to the following NICE Guidelines which lay out the evidence based therapies that should be offered for disorders of anxiety and depression:

 

NICE Guidance for depression in Adults (CG90)

NICE Guidance for Depression in adults with a chronic physical health problem (CG91) NICE Guidance for Common Mental Health Problems (CG123)

NICE Guidance for Generalised Anxiety Disorder and Panic Disorder in Adults (CG113) NICE Guidance for Obsessive Compulsive Disorder and Body Dysmorphic Disorder in Adults (CG31)

NICE Guidance for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (CG26) All the above can be accessed through;

https://www.nice.org.uk Question 6.

How will the CCG ensure that GPs are given comprehensive data on the functioning of their patients? Currently data is supplied to GPs on less than half of patents and purely in the form of psychometric test results, there are no ‘gold standard’ diagnostic assessments conducted at all. How will the CCG remedy that IAPT workers do not know what they are treating?

 

Response 6.

 

GPs are informed of the outcome of all their patients’ therapy episodes with Talk Liverpool. This includes both psychometric scores and clinical information. With regard to “gold standard diagnostic assessments”, the IAPT service is a treatment service and not a formal diagnostic service. Talk Liverpool provide problem descriptors (and not formal diagnoses) as mandated by the IAPT Dataset V1.5 set out by NHS England, using the nationally mandated psychometric tests (details of which can be found in the IAPT Data Handbook published by NHS England).

 

Links:

 

http://content.digital.nhs.uk/iapt

 

http://ipnosis .postle.net/PDFS/iaptoutcomestoolkit2008november(2).pdf

 

Further information relating to IAPT nationally can be obtained through the National Collaborating Centre for Mental Health and NHS England who have recently published the IAPT Manual which outlines the model that all IAPT services should follow (including some of the procedures implemented by Talk Liverpool including some outlined in the responses given above).

 

Links:

 

http://www.rcpsych.ac.uk/workinpsychiatry/nccmh/mentalhealthcarepathways/improvingac cess.aspx

 

https://www.york.ac.uk/healthsciences/pc-mis/newsarticles/lAPT%20Manual 30OCT17.pdf

 

 

I hope that you and Dr Scott this information helpful.

Yours sincerely

 

Ian Davies

Chief Operating Officer

 

Liverpool CCG show no evidence of having bothered to read my analysis of 90 cases, and have not answered my questions, they have simply acted as the mouthpiece for IAPT.

 

Dr Mike Scott

Rules of Thumb That Sabotage Treatment Post Trauma

IAPT January 23rd 2018 Birmingham City Football Ground Were you thinking this heading referred to post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) teatment? If you did, you may have been using a particular rule of thumb relating to an exalted status for PTSD. The following may be a common set of saboteurs:

  1. It is probably PTSD because it was an awful incident
  2. It is probably PTSD because there are flashbacks and nightmares
  3. It is probably PTSD because of a high score on the IES
  4. It is probably mixed anxiety and depression because of high scores on PHQ9 and GAD7
  5. Whatever it actually is trauma focussed CBT/EMDR offers the best bet for resolving it
  6. Formulation rules anyway
  7. You can’t treat more than one disorder at a time
  8. Issues need to be resolved first

I was due to present these Saboteurs next Tuesday during an IAPT Workshop at Birmingham City Football Ground, unfortunately 2 days after Christmas I fell down the stairs, presentation of the saboteurs has been sabotaged! The Power Point Presentation is available above.  The effects of the rules of thumb are I believe devastating leading to a recovery rate of 10% in IAPT.

my paper IAPT- The Need For Radical Reform will appear in the Journal of Health Psychology shortly.

Dr Mike Scott