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Home > News > Archive: March 2013

News - March 2013

Oxford Mental Health Forum's research leads to local BBC news media coverage


Oxford Mental Health Forum’s research into waiting times for accessing talking therapy in Oxfordshire has resulted in local media coverage.

BBC Oxford covered the story on the long waits for accessing talking therapy as their top local news headline during their radio Breakfast programme on Monday 18th March, which included an interview with Rezina Hakim, Policy and Campaigns Officer from mental health charity MIND, Clinical Psychologist, June Dent, from TalkingSpace, as well as personal experiences of people who had used the service. The story was also reported on BBC South Today.

It was reported during the programme that TalkingSpace will be taking on more staff and will soon have more treatments available in order to meet the increase in demand for the service.

Watch the BBC South Today video

BBC South Today

© BBC South Today. Published with kind permission.

To view Oxford Mental Health Forum’s research report, see:

Access to talking therapies continue to fall short of Government targets


An online poll recently hosted on the Oxford Mental Health Forum website to collect data on how long people have had to wait to gain access to talking therapies in Oxfordshire, has unearthed some very concerning results, with nearly half of those who took part in the poll having waited more than six months for their first treatment session.

The results of the poll prompted further research to be carried out to establish the extent at which the results reflect more substantial data, with some shocking statistics revealing huge variations in data between local counties.

The Government’s IAPT (Improving Access to Psychological Therapies Programme) statistics reveal that between April-June 2012, there were 2,254 active referrals to the TalkingSpace service in Oxfordshire, recorded by the Oxfordshire PCT1. The number of active referrals who had to wait longer than 28 days from referral to first treatment/therapeutic session by the end of the reporting period, was 1,976; a substantial 88% of the total figure. In comparison, in Buckinghamshire there were 1,739 referrals in the same time period to the Buckinghamshire local IAPT service. Only 76 patients out of 1,739 waited more than 28 days for their first treatment/therapeutic session; less than 5%.

View Oxford Mental Health Forum’s report in full:
Access to talking therapies in Oxfordshire: a comparative study [PDF format]

Mental health charity, Mind’s response:

“We know that for many people with mental health problems, the IAPT scheme is a valuable intervention towards recovery and the use of talking therapies in the NHS is increasing. Most recent data shows that the overall picture is improving, with more people being referred to psychological therapies on the whole.

However, the results from the Oxford mental health Forum poll chime with Mind's own We need to talk report: gaining access to psychological therapies is difficult for many people and still too many people are waiting over 28 days from first referral to see a therapist.

We're pleased to see that overall waiting times have slightly improved, although in many areas waiting times are still increasing. There continues to be a worrying degree of regional variation in IAPT service provision, with most recent data showing over 100,000 people still having to wait over 28 days to access therapy.

When people are experiencing a mental health problem, they urgently need effective treatment to help their recovery - these figures still have a long way to go before they are acceptable.”

Rezina Hakim, Policy and Campaigns Officer, Mind

1 The NHS Health and Social Care Information Centre, 2013, Improving Access to Psychological Therapies, Key Performance Indicators, accessed 25 February 2013.