Sunderland health trust denies failing on depression

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BOSSES at a primary care trust today insisted it was not failing patients suffering from depression despite being ranked among the worst in the country for tackling the illness.

Sunderland Teaching Primary Care Trust, which came fifth bottom in a league table for treating depression, has only 15 per cent of patients overcoming their problems, compared with 42 per cent nationally.

According to the NHS figures, about two in five patients return to full health after completing a course of psychological therapy treatment.

But health chiefs on Wearside say that the league table does not tell the full story, with its new Improving Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT) programme expected the improve services.

Ian Holliday, NHS South of Tyne and Wear’s head of business delivery, with responsibility for mental health services, said: “Sunderland Teaching Primary Care Trust received funding of approximately £1.8million for the IAPT programme in 2011 and is in the first year of rolling out the scheme.”

It is expected that during the first year of delivery, the IAPT service will be restricted because of the pressures of new trainees being trained and the responsibility on the existing staff to support and supervise the new trainees.

However, trust managers say that further investment has been made in primary care counselling services to provide cover throughout the implementation phase.

Mr Holliday said: “Now the service is in place we expect to see significant improvements in outcomes over the next 18 months.

“In year one it is expected almost 3,000 people will be seen within the service, of which it is expected that at least 50 per cent will move to recovery before being discharged.

“In year two, working at full capacity, it is expected almost 5,000 people will be seen within the service, of which it is expected that at least 50 per cent will move to recovery before being discharged.”

Blackpool PCT came out worst in the table, with a recovery rate of just 5.6 per cent.

Halton and St Helens, East Riding of Yorkshire and Hull Teaching also came below Sunderland PCT.

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