BABCP Response - NICE Consultation January 2022

The National Audit Office Fails To Ensure IAPT Does What It Says On The Tin

On February 9th 2023, the NAO gave its’ seal of approval to NHS Talking Therapies (formerly the Improving access to Psychological Therapies, Service), legitimising the £752 million spent on it in 2021-2022. But the small print reveals that less than 50% of clients completed treatment (attended 2 or more sessions). Further the NAO, took at face value, the Service’s claim of a 50% recovery for completers. These are not the hallmarks of a legitimately funded public body. The NAO is strangely silent on the fact that there has been no publicly funded independent assessment of the effectiveness of NHS Talking Therapies. Nevertheless they recommend the Services method of self-audit, (repeated completion of 2 psychometric tests) for adoption by the rest of the mental health services! 

The NAO took no account of my critique of the Service published in the British Journal of Clinical Psychology (2021):

  • diagnosis is not part of the repertoire of NHS Talking Therapies
  • to most people recovery means no longer suffering from the disorder/s that you presented with
  • psychometric tests measure the severity of a disorder, they are not diagnostic and cannot be the primary metric of recovery.
  • the duration of recovery is critical, and if not established talk of recovery is meaningless
  • the best independent evidence of recovery to date is that in fact the tip of the iceberg recover [Scott (2018) ]. The improvement identified by NHS Talking Therapies is most likely the effects of attention and regression to the mean. The burden of proof is on the Service to demonstrate that its’ clients fare any better than a matched group of clients attending say the Citizen Advice Bureaux. 

If the NAO report were presented in a Civil Court, their findings would be dismissed because their conclusions are outside their area of expertise. NHS Talking Therapies is responsible to politicians and Integrated Care Boards, but to date the latter have failed to hold them accountable, `alongside the NAO. It is sadly reminiscent of Hospital Trusts not holding Senior Managers accountable.

Dr Mike Scott

2 replies on “The National Audit Office Fails To Ensure IAPT Does What It Says On The Tin”

The money wasted on IAPT pales into insignificance when compared to the money governments spent on the Covid ‘scamdemic.’ Money not only spent on something else that doesn’t work but on vaccines and other measures that can cause serious harm. There are similarities between IAPT and the government’s response to Covid in the regulating bodies failure to examine the efficacy of treatment protocols and other interventions. At least IAPT has not caused the same physical harm as have Covid vaccines. In this case governments have not only ignored safety data but appear to be actively covering up what is going on. The case of clinical psychologist Dr Stephen Wright who died after having had a so called ‘rare’ reaction to the Astra Zenica Covid vaccine is only ‘rare’ in that the government did actually acknowledge his death was caused by the vaccine. Given the governments response to the safety and efficacy data of the Covid vaccines I doubt they will ever acknowledge the money wasted on IAPT. For those interested in the enormity of the cover up the YouTube channel of Dr John Campbell is a useful starting point:

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