Mental Health Triage Practitioners Don’t Know Who Is Suffering from What, or What Needs To Be Done

The Government’s Improving Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT) programme has decided to experiment with enabling the public to directly book an appointment with a Psychological Wellbeing Practitioner (PWP). But IAPT and the Government are keeping quiet, that PWP’s are not trained in making diagnoses nor in providing psychological [ IAPT Manual (2019)]. They have made it impossible for the public to give informed consent. The public are being conned. In the interest of ‘efficiency’, IAPT is by-passing managerial and admin staff. 

For the most part PWPs have nursing or social work backgrounds with a first degree. A recent patient of mine could easily have made direct access to a PWP, I shudder to think what they would have made of his abrupt mood changes, sometimes changed image as he looks in the mirror and periodic disengagement from life. Though not abused himself as a child, he witnessed parental abuse. To put it bluntly they wouldn’t have a clue what was wrong, much less what to do about it. What then is the unique body of knowledge of PWPs?

Given that successive Governments have never conducted an independent audit of IAPT since its inception in 2008, who can say that the billions of £’s service, is value for money? It is to be expected that a service itself will claim itself essential, and in support of this IAPT claims a 50% recovery rate [IAPT Manual (2019)]. But my own independent study Scott (2018) suggests that only the tip of the iceberg recover. As far as mental health is concerned there is no evidence that those  availing themselves of IAPT fare any better than if they had attended the Citizen’s Advice Bureaux. But the CABx is upfront with no pretence at having mental health expertise.  Is the Government running a production line or endeavouring to improve mental health? No answer from the Health Secretary yet.

Dr Mike Scott