NHS Talking Therapies – Doublethink Without Informed Consent


In practise clients begin their journey through NHS Talking Therapies at the promptings of the least qualified clinicians, Psychological Wellbeing Practitioners (PWPs). They are not trained therapists. I am not aware of this NHS service formally seeking any informed consent, it is likely unique in this regard. But the public have a right to know what they are letting themselves in for and the effectiveness of the said interventions. If pushed most PWPs would probably reiterate the mantra of its employer that 50% of people recover. But there has been no independent verification of this claim. Rather the best independent evidence suggests that the tip of the iceberg recover. It would not be a sufficient justification for a PWPs action to claim that he/she was only doing/saying what most colleagues are doing. How can there even be an ‘informal’ informed consent if the PWP does not make it clear that they are not a trained therapist, there is an absence of transparency. Further it is doubtful that they have the expertise to advise clients of the sequelae of different pathways.

Would a client who did not make the progress he /she had been led to expect be able to make a claim? Would the family of a client who committed suicide be able to claim that there had been no informed consent garnered at the outset of treatment?

I ran these concerns via a Barrister who opined ‘In principle, however, a person who is given inaccurate or misleading information about the chances of successful treatment, or about the qualifications of a person treating them, may well be found not to have given informed consent’.


Dr Mike Scott