Thousands of NHS-funded talking therapy sessions are still being carried out by unaccredited practitioners every month, despite NHS England trying to stop the practice for at least five years.
NHS Digital data for January this year showed 44,170 sessions involved practitioners who were neither in training nor had done an accredited course. The actual figure could be higher as, of the 517,027 sessions in total carried out, data about who was involved was missing for more than half (328,433).
Since last June, practitioners delivering NHS-funded “low intensity” talking therapies – previously known as Improving Access to Psychological Therapies – are required to be part of either the British Psychological Society or the British Association for Cognitive and Behavioural Psychotherapies’ registers. The registers, which were set up in 2021, confirm practitioners have completed an accredited course, ensure continuous professional development and provide a framework for striking off.
Meanwhile, NHSE’s IAPT manual – first published in 2018 – states all clinicians should have completed an accredited training programme and a “robust and urgent” plan should be in place to train those who have not, including the possibility of those without accreditation being prevented from working alone.
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Source: HSJ, 3 May 2023