Just under half of all referrals that completed psychological therapy in 2016-17 recovered, new report shows

NHS Digital must be quoted as the source of these figures

Regional data available in this report

Just under half (49.3 per cent) of those referrals finishing treatment for anxiety and depression in 2016-17 recovered, according to official statistics published today by NHS Digital.

This is the highest rate of recovery since 2012-13 when figures were first recorded2.

Of the 525,000 referrals that finished treatment in the year having started as clinical cases of anxiety or depression3, 259,000 (49.3 per cent) recovered.

Psychological Therapies: Annual Report on the use of IAPT services, England, further analyses on 2016-17, examines activity, waiting times and outcomes for the Improving Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT) programme.

It provides a very detailed breakdown by user and service type, including some new analysis on ethnicity.

The statistics reveal that there were 1,386,000 new referrals between 1 April 2016 and 31 March 2017 with 965,000 entering treatment and 567,000 finishing a course of treatment.

Recovery rates for those people finishing treatment having started as clinical cases of anxiety or depression have increased gradually year-on-year since 2012-13, reaching 49.3 per cent in 2016-17. In 2015-16 the recovery rate was 46.3 per cent and in 2012-13 the recovery rate was 42.8 per cent.

There were differences in the recovery rates for different ethnic groups. Recovery rates for patients from the white ethnic group stood at 50.2 per cent, for black or black British it was 44.9 per cent, for those of mixed multiple ethnic groups 44.5 per cent, for Asian or Asian British it was 44.2 per cent and for other ethnic groups 41.7 per cent.

More people were seen within six weeks. Of the 567,000 referrals that finished a course of treatment in 2016-17, 87.5 per cent waited less than six weeks for their first treatment and 98.2 per cent waited less than 18 weeks. This compares with 81.3 per cent waiting less than six weeks and 96.2 per cent waiting less than 18 weeks in 2015-16.

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. The treatments can include therapies such as counselling, cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) and peer support.

Read the full report

Psychological Therapies, Annual report on the use of IAPT services - England, further analyses on 2016-17

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Notes to Editors

  1. NHS Digital is the national information and technology partner of the health and care system. Our team of information analysis, technology and project management experts create, deliver and manage the crucial digital systems, services, products and standards upon which health and care professionals depend. During the 2016/17 financial year, NHS Digital published 292 statistical reports. Our vision is to harness the power of information and technology to make health and care better.

  2. The IAPT dataset became a nationally mandated data set in April 2012; earlier comparable data are not available.

  3. In IAPT outcome measures, such as recovery, are calculated for referrals that finish a course of treatment within the reporting period having started as clinical cases of anxiety or depression. The term "recovery" has a specific meaning in the context of IAPT services. A referral has moved to recovery if they were defined as a clinical case at the start of their treatment and not as a clinical case at the end of treatment. There were 567,000 referrals that finished a course of treatment in 2016-17, of which 525,000 started as clinical cases of anxiety or depression.   For further information see Appendix 3 in the report.

  4. Improving Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT) is an NHS programme in England that offers interventions approved by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) for treating people with depression and anxiety.

  5. Numbers are rounded to the nearest 1,000. Percentages have been calculated using unrounded figures.

  6. All historical IAPT publications can be found at www.digital.nhs.uk/iaptreports

  7. For media enquiries please contact media@nhsdigital.nhs.net or telephone 0300 30 33 888.