New guidance launched at a virtual roundtable to drive high quality mental health support

Amid rising pressure on the UK’s mental health services, compounded by COVID-19, the Good Governance Institute (GGI) and Connect Health have unveiled an industry-leading briefing to support NHS leaders and commissioners in providing the most efficient and best quality care in the community.

New guidance launched at a virtual roundtable to drive high quality mental health support

Launched at a virtual roundtable on Tuesday 8 September to senior healthcare leaders across the health system including Clinical Commissioning Groups and Trusts, the Board Assurance Prompt (BAP) supports the Government’s ambitious Improving Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT) program and the NHS Long Term Plan’s proposal for a further 1.9 million people to receive IAPT services by 2024.

Hinged around the six IAPT key principles, the report examines how challenges, including significant funding and workforce deficits, will be addressed. By exploring how IAPT services can be more fit for purpose, the BAP considers the better use of technology to boost efficiency, working within agreed financing and staff recruitment and retention parameters, all while ensuring inclusive access for all, particularly those from vulnerable and deprived backgrounds.

Included within the BAP is a checklist and maturity matrix to support NHS organisations understand whether they are delivering the most effective IAPT and mental health services. It features the best approaches to develop six elements – access, service user experience, people, finance, digital and Integration.

The six IAPT principles covered in the BAP are:

  • Ease of access - including the use of self-referrals;
  • Least intrusive intervention first - in line with NICE-recommended psychological therapies and a stepped-care model;
  • Trained and competent clinicians - who have regular clinical supervision that is outcome-focused and supportive;
  • Meaningful treatment choices;
  • Routine, outcome monitoring - session by session; and,
  • Building and maintaining close links with primary care, specialist mental health services, third sector, social care and employment support services.

Many experts are warning that a mental health crisis is looming. We know that there is rising demand as a consequence of those who have experienced severe physical and mental health complications during the pandemic, and also the millions of others who had their treatment delayed and now need physical and mental support on their journey to recovery. This demonstrates just how important high-quality IAPT services will be in the coming months.”

Andrew Corbett-Nolan, Chief Executive, GGI

Today, almost one in four people in the UK have a mental health condition and this is set to rise because of the pandemic. To help meet increased demand, while providing quality care within tight budgets and struggling with workforce deficits, commissioners, and providers of IAPT services are faced with serious challenges. Through the BAP we hope to offer workable solutions and advice, including help to those with long term health conditions such as musculoskeletal (MSK) disorders which overlap significantly with mental health problems. Particular emphasis is also focused on colleagues with no clinical background, who need support to understand key healthcare issues relating to the provision of IAPT.”

Graeme Wilkes, Chief Medical Officer, Connect Health

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