Number referred for depression and anxiety tops 1.4 million, latest NHS figures

GPs made more than 1.4 million referrals for talking therapies for patients with anxiety or depression last year, new figures show.

The number of referrals for talking therapy increased from 1.39 million in 2016/17 to 1.44 million in 2017/18, according to data from NHS Digital.

More than a million people started treatment, a 4.5% rise from the previous year.

Just over half of those referred who finished their course of treatment made a recovery, the figures show.

NHS Digital said this was the first year when the recovery rate passed 50%.

The statistics body found that almost nine in 10 people (89.1%) were seen within six weeks – exceeding the national target of three quarters of patients to start treatment in this timeframe.

Patients who finished their course of treatment had an average of almost seven sessions with their therapist.

The new NHS Digital report examines NHS England’s Improving Access to Psychological Therapies programme for the last financial year.

The initiative helps people with depression or anxiety.

Commenting on the report, Claire Murdoch, NHS England’s national director of mental health, said: “The NHS has one of the most ambitious programmes of talking therapies in the world and last year over one million people were helped for the first time, with over half of those treated recovering by the end of their sessions.

“The NHS continues to champion mental health services and its long-term plan will set out further priorities for the years ahead to raise standards of care and increase access for those who need support.”

Copyright (c) Press Association Ltd. 2018, All Rights Reserved. Picture (c) Dominic Lipinski / PA Wire.