Latest NHS Digital figures show 21.5% rise in number of people accessing talking therapies

Published on: Thursday, 29th September 2022

The number of people accessing talking therapies for conditions such as anxiety and depression through the NHS increased by 21.5% from 2020-21 to 2021-22, a new report shows. 

The Psychological Therapies: Annual Report on the use of IAPT services, England 2021-22 publication provides information on the Improving Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT) programme1. This programme is run by the NHS in England and offers NICE-approved therapies for treating people with depression and anxiety.

In 2021-22, 1.24 million referrals accessed IAPT services, compared to 1.02 million in 2020-21, an increase of 21.5%. In 2019-20, 1.17 million referrals accessed therapies through IAPT services.

The publication also shows:  

  • The overall number of referrals was up 24.5% from 1.46 million in 2020-21 to 1.81 million in 2021-22, higher than pre-pandemic levels of 1.69 million in 2019-2020.
  • The number of referrals completing a course of treatment increased by 4.6%, from 634,649 in 2020-21 to 664,087 this year.
  • People completing a course of treatment received on average 7.9 sessions in 2021-22, which was up from 7.5 in 2020-21.
  • The figures also show 50.2% of referrals moved to recovery2 in 2021-22, down 1.2 percentage points from 51.4% in 2020-21.

The report and interactive dashboard also includes:

  • waiting times for entering and finishing treatment
  • demographic and geographic breakdowns
  • trend data for key activity and outcomes

People seek treatment through IAPT services for depression and a range of anxiety disorders such as agoraphobia, post-traumatic stress disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorders, panic disorders and social phobias. Treatments can include therapies like counselling, cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) and peer support.

Also published is Hospital Outpatient Activity 2021-22, which shows outpatient activity in English NHS hospitals and NHS-commissioned activity in the independent sector.

Included in the report is the number of outpatient appointments in 2021-22, broken down into patients that attended and did not attend. Further breakdowns of gender and age are also included.

The report also covers:

  • First attendances by source of referral
  • Figures on the number of cancelled appointments
  • Areas of treatment specialities by attendance type
  • Main treatment specialities by age and gender
  • Interactive provider-level analysis

Further data published covers the latest figures on sexual and reproductive health services.

The Sexual and Reproductive Health Services England (Contraception) 2021-22 report primarily records contraceptive activity taking place at dedicated Sexual and Reproductive Health (SRH) services in England as collected by the Sexual and Reproductive Health Activity Data set (SRHAD).

It provides national, regional, local authority and provider/clinic level analyses.

The report shows:

  • a demographic breakdown of service users
  • information about the provision of contraception, including emergency contraception, at sexual and reproductive health services
  • the number of vasectomies and sterilisations at both sexual and reproductive health services and NHS hospitals over a ten-year period

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