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Long waits 'leave mental health patients in limbo'


Patients with mental health problems are being left in limbo on "hidden" waiting lists by England's NHS talking therapy service, the BBC can reveal.

The service, Improving Access to Psychological Therapies, provides therapy, such as counselling, to adults with conditions like depression, post-traumatic stress disorder and anxiety.

It starts seeing nine in 10 patients within the target time of six weeks, but that masks the fact many then face long waits for regular treatment. Half of patients waited over 28 days, and one in six longer than 90 days, between their first and second sessions in the past year.

Charities said the headline target was giving a false impression of what was happening, warning that patients were facing "hidden waits" that were putting their health at risk.

NHS England acknowledged the pressure on the system was causing delays, but pointed out that despite the delays, half of patients given treatment still recovered.

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Source: BBC News, 5 December 2019

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