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Royal College of Psychiatrists Publishes Early Intervention in Psychosis Audit Report

Improving access to evidence-based care for people with first episode psychosis is a national priority. A new Access and Waiting Time Standard has been set and additional funding has been made available to deliver better services. As part of this initiative, NHS England commissioned an audit to establish a baseline position regarding services’ ability to provide timely access to NICE recommended interventions across England.

The report of the Early Intervention in Psychosos Audit is commissioned by the Healthcare Quality Improvement Partnership (HQIP) on behalf of NHS England. HQIP is led by a consortium of the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges, the Royal College of Nursing and National Voices. Its aim is to promote quality improvement, and in particular to increase the impact that clinical audit has on healthcare quality in England and Wales. HQIP holds the contract to manage and develop the National Clinical Audit and Patient Outcomes Propgramme (NCAPOP), comprising more than 30 clinical audits that cover care provided to people with a wide range of medical, surgical and mental health conditions. The programme is funded by NHS England the Welsh Government and, with some individual audits, also funded by the Health Department of the Scottish Government, DHSSPS Northern Ireland and the Channel Islands.

“Results of this audit show marked variation in access and waiting times for EIP services across England.”

Most people in England assessed as having first episode psychosis waited more than two weeks before they were allocated to and engaged by an EIP care coordinator. Marked variation across the country shows that commencement of engagement within two weeks of referral is possible. These findings also highlight areas where change is most needed to bring the treatment that people with first episode psychosis receive in line with nationally agreed standards of care, specifically the need to improve physical health screening and intervention and patients’ access to psychological treatments (CBTp and FI) in keeping with NICE standards of care.


  • Results of this audit show marked variation in access and waiting times for EIP services across England. Clinical teams should use local networks and the new EIP Network to share good practice and implement changes needed to increase the proportion of people who are engaged with services within a two week period.
  • Data from this audit show that most patients do not have documented evidence that recommended screening and interventions for common physical health problems have been used. EIP services should familiarise themselves with good practice guidelines on physical health. A Toolkit published by NHS England and the Department of Health has been designed to help services improve the quality of physical health care they provide.
  • Employment support services were not available to patients inapproximately a fifth of teams. Providers must make sure they are able to offer supported employment programmes in line with NICE QS80. NICE guidelines emphasise the evidence-based programme of Individual Placement and Support (IPS) which is also recommended in the Mental Health Taskforce (MHTF) report. Providers must develop their provision of this type of evidence-based programme and further information can be found on the Centre for Mental Helath IPS webpage.


Events of interest:

Psychosis & Schizophrenia in Adults
Friday 30 September 2016
Hallam Conference Centre, London

19 July 2016


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