previous post about IAPT (Improving Access to Psychological Therapies), I have looked at the evaluation by Glenys Parry et al (2011) of the two demonstration sites for the programme. Although this report was published last year, it seems to have raised little interest. I can't even find it referenced on the IAPT website. Perhaps the IAPT programme doesn't want to take note of its findings.
I have been complaining that proponents of IAPT have been making claims for its effectiveness (including numbers of people moving off benefits) without comparative data. Glenys and colleague's study did have comparator sites for each demonstration site, although one of them obtained IAPT funding during the period of the evaluation. At four month follow up, the IAPT cohort and the comparison cohort had improved on all the patient-reported outcome measures with a similar degree of improvement. At eight months there were no statistically significant differences between the cohorts.
By contrast, a research study comparing face-to-face (FTF) with over-the-telephone (OTT) delivery of low intensity cognitive behavioural therapy has been received enthusiastically by the IAPT programme. The study found that the two methods of delivery were just as effective and it was cheaper to use the phone. I suppose if IAPT doesn't really have much effect, then doing it over the phone isn't going to make it worse and it's better not to waste too much money on the programme.
I agree with Rosemary Rizq that this is a perversion of care (also see her paper - IAPT, anxiety and envy). IAPT is turning away from the realities of managing distressed people. Of course, this isn't new for mental health services, but it's particularly blatant with IAPT.