Charities attack treatment delays for mental health patients

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Sectioned - mental healthMore than one in 10 people with mental health problems are waiting for longer than a year before receiving talking treatments and more than half are waiting longer than three months, mental health charities and practitioners have found.

The We Need to Talk Coalition said that delays and a lack of choice were having a devastating effect on people who were not getting the right treatment, while others were being driven to pay for private treatment.

It said the NHS should offer a full range of evidence-based psychological therapies to all who need them within 28 days of requesting a referral. Official figures published last month showed that more than 80,000 of the 241,250 patients referred by GPs and other clinicians to talking therapies in the second quarter of this year waited more than 28 days to receive treatment.

Paul Farmer, chief executive of the mental health charity Mind, which is part of the coalition, said government investment in the Improving Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT) programme had helped millions with some improvement in waiting times but that more needed to be done.

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