The BPC has submitted a paper to the Labour Party's Health and Care Policy Commission.
The Commission develops Labour policy and thinking on areas including the future of the NHS and mental health and is currently leading a consultation on mental health policy.
Our paper focuses principally on psychological therapies and our key messages are:
• We think Labour has a vital role to play in championing the rights of patients to access appropriate therapies and believe the Government and NHS England should provide a wider range of evidence-based therapies so that patients can access a therapy which matches their needs.
• 85.1% of people referred to the Increasing Access to Psychological Therapies programme are not moving to recovery. We believe there needs to be urgent investigation of this, not least to find out what happens to patients who do not recover on the IAPT programme. This high percentage also begs the question: is the NHS doing enough to help people access the psychological therapies they need?
• Research has revealed that people more likely to engage with therapy and to recover if they can choose the treatment type, where they access the appointment and when . We would welcome the Government working with NHS England and the Clinical Commissioning Groups to make this happen.
• NHS England should introduce a new waiting time target of 28 days (4 weeks) from referral request to first appointment, for everyone who has a clinical need for psychological therapy.
• We recommend that any appropriate psychological therapy service on the NHS should be able to meet our waiting time target.
• All professional staff who work in the NHS should receive training in mental health. Such training is particularly important for GPs.
• In the context of parity of esteem, we would like to see mental health research funding trebled by 2025.
• In order to meet patient need, we suggest firstly that the Government mandates Health Education England (HEE) to train adequate numbers of therapists in each of the modalities of therapy currently under-represented on the IAPT programme; and secondly, that NHS England utilises the capacity of the non-IAPT workforce.
• We also believe that urgent action needs to be taken to address the psychological pressures that IAPT practitioners are under.
You can view the full paper below: