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Psychological Therapies in Primary Care HIT highlights in 2016-17

8 May 2017

Dr Nicola Wiles and Dr David Kessler, Directors of the Psychological Therapies in Primary Care Health Integration Team (InPsyTe HIT), give an update on the HIT's work in 2016-17.

Our HIT aims to improve the delivery of psychological care to patients with depression, anxiety and other common mental disorders. These are a major cause of disability, and patients say they prefer psychological therapies.

We want to innovate, and one of our major themes is developing online technology to improve access to psychological treatments. Working with commissioners, academics, clinicians and service leads, this year we have focused on improving patient access and engagement with the local Improving Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT) service.

InPsyTe is a useful collaboration for considering roll out and evaluation of an existing online therapy package, SilverCloud, in the IAPT service. This package might appeal to people with irregular working patterns, accessibility restrictions, or those who just prefer this technological style of intervention. It’s now available as an IAPT treatment option. The team is providing support and guidance on a clinical and cost effectiveness evaluation of SilverCloud, compared to other low intensity interventions, with a pilot of 500 licences. This pilot data will help inform decisions about the future use of SilverCloud.

The University of Bristol led INTERACT study aims to develop a therapist supported online cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) platform for depression. The study team are working with IAPT therapists and service users to design the platform. A trial to evaluate the clinical and cost-effectiveness of the intervention will follow.

This year we have made progress with setting up a group of primary care service user representatives. They will advise academics in their psychological research projects, and clinical and service staff to inform service improvement.

Bristol Health Partners have awarded the HIT funding to support the IAPT service information sessions for Black and minority ethnic and hard-to-reach communities in Bristol. These groups don’t frequently use psychological therapy services. At these sessions people can hear about what psychological interventions are available in primary care and how to access them. Both the information sessions and the service user involvement work will be the focus of our work over the next few months.

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