On Monday 29th June, we invited representatives from a number of IAPT services to join us at our new offices in central Bath for the second in a series of round table conversations about the future of IAPT services and delivery. This followed the success of the first such discussion in April.
We were delighted to be joined by six service leaders representing IAPT in Worcestershire, Coventry & Warwickshire, Bath & North East Somerset, and Hampshire. Once again, we discussed the impact of the new waiting time targets for psychological therapies and how services are approaching the challenge – including what part online psychological therapies would play in improving access.
We started with a recap of the national guidance on achieving access targets, and the news that NHS England expected to announce within days the new £10m fund to help IAPT services achieve their targets. The services represented had a variety of experiences in being able to meet the targets, and the work they were being asked to do by their commissioners to plan and report on access and throughput.
The Mayden team presented a suite of analyses of data in iaptus that could help services review and plan capacity and throughput at all stages in the care pathway.
There was some difference of opinion as to the relationship between having a highly involved information analyst within an IAPT team and the performance of that service. Do let us have your views on that!
We later turned to experiences and plans for using online therapy within an IAPT service. Everyone present was ‘pro’ online therapy, but services were at different stages in making it happen – from persuading commissioners on cost and clinical effectiveness, to already having user licenses for online services. Key challenges were seen to be therapist commitment, commissioner buy-in, and clinical risk. Those who were already using applications such as Silvercloud explained the clinical alerts system that operated out of hours.
There was some discussion about appropriate commissioning models – whether traditional procurement routes would lock one online provider in over others when services would rather access a range of options – and where the IAPT service sat in the supply chain of online therapies.
We also discussed the prospect of GPs beginning to be incentivised to refer patients to IAPT through the QOF system, and the impact that might have on being able to channel patients via IAPT to suitable interventions. There was anecdotal evidence of GPs referring direct to free-to-use health apps, but that intervention being lost to the IAPT service and outcomes data set.
In general, the group agreed that there would be great benefit from service leads having an opportunity to meet with the Mayden team to share and learn approaches to service delivery, and how they use analysis and reports to inform service improvements. We plan on hosting a series of similar events through the rest of the year to facilitate this.
Do you have a challenge you would like to discuss with other IAPT services? Let us know.