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Psychological Therapies for Severe & Prolonged Mental Illness

Tuesday 5 July 2016
Hallam Conference Centre, London

Psychological Therapies for Severe & Prolonged Mental Illness

This event has now past, but there may well be news on the event including presentations and quotes from the day at our News pages here, a full list of our forthcoming events is available here.

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Albert Einstein was meant to have said the definition of insanity is -doing the same thing over and over again, but expecting different results”. What would he have made of the stark fact repeated in the the Mental Health Task Force report: -people with severe and prolonged mental illness are at risk of dying on average 15 to 20 years earlier than other people”? Two former National Clinical Directors have told us the system doesn"t work. Is it because of a lack of money? Or is it a lack of alternatives or, more specifically, a lack of evidence for NICE to recommend alternatives to the medication-first approach that has prevailed in the past 50 years? Neither, in the analysis of Professor Louis Appleby and Dr Geraldine Strathdee. It is structural and systemic failure to reform. New waiting time targets are intended to address this: -People experiencing a first episode of psychosis should have access to a NICE-approved care package within 2 weeks of referral.” (Mental Health Taskforce Strategy, February, 2016). Waiting times in mental health may prove to be a powerful driver. But waiting for what exactly? In 2010 we promised access to psychological therapies. Karen Turner, Director of Mental Health at NHS England, and Dr Alex Stirzaker, National Clinical Lead will launch the next stage transformation for IAPT for SMI. But if 6 years on we are still at the stage of reporting pilots and waiting for a national implementation plan they can expect a critical reception. The systemic failure here is a workforce that is not yet equipped to deliver real change.

So is it lack of money for workforce transformation that is the barrier? If so, could necessity be the driver that forces commissioners into realising they cannot afford to carry on doing the same thing over and over? If they needed telling, the Taskforce spelt out what they must stop doing: -Out of area placements for acute care should be reduced and eliminated as quickly as possible”. Incoming National Clinical Director, Professor Tim Kendall, has achieved this in Sheffield. As a moving force behind NICE will his reforming zeal succeed where others failed? We have invited Professor Peter Kinderman, Dr Adrian James and (that rare beast – a clinically-informed mental health commissioner) Thomas Kearney to consider the nettle that Kendall must grasp for a cultural as well as institutional transformation in the relationships between psychiatry, psychology and NHS commissioning to succeed. Do our influential speakers have a compelling a vision for achieving what patients tell us they want: a therapy-first approach? Does Kendall? Does anyone? Because unless these key disciplines want to deliver NICE-recommended evidence-based therapies -the planners may plan and the administrators may administer, but the face of the map will not be changed” (Enoch Powell, as the Health Secretary who ended the era of asylums).

Professor Richard Bentall can offer, if anyone can, a rigorous scientific case for change, which must be the starting point for our vision for the 21st C. Dr Candy Whittome will also tell us about the exciting approach taken at Genius Within, which we got a glimpse of in a recent television series. They are putting into practice another Taskforce recommendation: -employment is vital to health and should be recognised as a health outcome”. Health Education England are in the spotlight for our final session. They are asked by the Taskforce to: -develop a costed, multi-disciplinary workforce strategy for the future shape and skill mix of the workforce required to deliver both this strategy and the workforce recommendations set out in Future in Mind. This must report by no later than 2016.” Dr Neil Ralph, National programme lead at Health Education England will tell us how far they have got and a panel of leading voices will be holding his feet to the fire. Oh, and just in case you are worried we are already on the road to ruin, we have invited three leading politicians to help put us back on the right track.

Also of interest:

Psychological Therapies in the NHS
Wednesday 15 March — Thursday 16 March 
Millenium Conference Centre, London

Our other Mental Health events:

  • Mental Health

    For mental health practitioners and those working in mental health or with a specialist interest in mental health, psychiatry and psychology

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