Number of referrals to talking therapies and access to services falls

The number of referrals to talking therapies and patients accessing a service in England fell between 2021 and the year before, according to figures from NHS Digital.

The latest annual report on access to psychological therapies including counselling, cognitive behavioural therapy and peer support, revealed there were 1.46 million referrals in 2020-21, a 14 per cent drop on the 1.69 million in 2019-20. 

Just over one million referrals resulted in the patient accessing a service, a 12.2 per cent drop on the 1.17 million in 2019-20. However, 90 per cent of referrals ended with the patient starting treatment within six weeks, a 2.6 percentage point increase on 2019-20.       

The number of referrals that resulted in a completed course of treatment went up by 4.6 per cent during that 12-month period, from 606,192 in 2019-20 to 634,649 in 2020-21.   

On average, patients who completed their treatment received 7.5 sessions compared with 6.9 in 2019-20. 

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