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Thursday, March 21, 2013

Talking therapies to help thousands across south London

People living with a severe mental illness can now benefit from greater access to talking therapies.

South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust is one of only two trusts in the country which has just been awarded funding from the Department of Health to increase access to psychological therapies for people with psychosis.

Rates of psychosis are extremely high in south London – with the borough of Lambeth known for having one of the highest recorded rates of psychosis in the world.

The South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust has a long and distinguished history of providing innovative and exemplary practice in psychological treatments for psychosis, Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) and Family Intervention. Indeed, the staff from the Trust and King’s College London’s Institute of Psychiatry originally developed both treatment approaches.

The funding means SLaM will be an IAPT-SMI (Improving Access to Psychological Therapies – Severe Mental Illness) Psychosis Demonstration Site. Expanding access to talking therapies services for people with severe mental illness is part of the Government’s four year plan for talking therapies (2011-2015).

Incidence of psychosis in the UK is estimated at about 20 per 100,000 population but rates of psychosis are extremely high in South London. In Lambeth research has shown that it is approximately five times higher than the national average, at more than 100 per 100,000. South London is known to have high risk factors associated with psychosis such as unemployment, ethnicity, a young population, migration, high population density and cannabis abuse.

Philippa Garety, Clinical Director and Joint leader, Psychosis Clinical Academic Group (CAG), said: “We are delighted that the Department of Health has selected the SLaM Psychosis CAG as a demonstration site. It reflects well on all the hard work and commitment of the staff in promoting access to psychological therapies, which we know to make a real difference in people’s lives.”

The new site was officially launched by Norman Lamb, Care and Support Minister, who visited Maudsley Hospital to talk to staff and service users about psychological therapies in December 2013.

The Psychosis CAG has developed a Charter for implementing the NICE guideline for psychological therapies in psychosis, which includes increasing local access to cognitive behaviour therapy for psychosis CBTp and family intervention (FI), developing specialist and accredited therapist training courses in partnership with King's College London, provision of service user and carer information leaflets, and a programme of implementing and extracting, electronically, routine outcome monitoring. 

The Psychosis CAG has funding (for one year in the first instance) to increase access to psychological therapies for people with psychosis and their carers. The aim is to increase our therapy provision by 50pc above our current rates within two care pathways, Early Intervention and Recovery.

The benefits for service users and their carers are improved access to NICE recommended psychological therapies for psychosis (CBTp and FI) across all four SLaM boroughs, with clear referral pathways, including self-referral, reduced waiting times and regular assessment of progress to ensure that therapy is helpful.

Gus Heafield, Interim Chief Executive at SLaM, said: “I am extremely pleased and proud that SLaM has been given the opportunity to further develop our psychological therapies within psychosis."


-       £1.2 million has been allocated across six NHS sites which have been selected and appointed through an application and interview process during August and September. The selected sites are leaders in their field and will be proactive in demonstrating improved access to psychological therapies, improved clinical outcomes, and user defined recovery for severe mental illnesses.


-       The Demonstration Sites went live on on 1 November 2013.


The six successful sites are:


  • For Psychosis:  South London and Maudsley NHS FT and Lancashire Care FT – Early Intervention Service


  • For Personality Disorder: Somerset Partnership NHS FT, Barnet, Enfield and Haringey NHS FT, and North East London FT


  • For Bipolar Disorder: Birmingham & Solihull Mental Health FT will be working in partnership with Spectrum Centre for Mental Health Research, Lancaster University

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