The Improving Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT) programme supports the frontline NHS in implementing National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) guidelines for people suffering from depression and anxiety disorders. It was created to offer patients a realistic and routine first-line treatment, combined where appropriate with medication which traditionally had been the only treatment available before. Evidence shows this stepped care approach can save the NHS up to £272million and the wider public sector will benefit by more than £700 million. The programme began in 2006 with Demonstration sites in Doncaster and Newham focusing on improving access to psychological therapies services for adults of working age and testing out the stepped care model in action. In 2007, 11 IAPT Pathfinders began to explore the specific benefits of services to vulnerable groups. The original Implementation Plan of 2008 and related documents can be viewed here and on our IAPT history timeline. Two important published 'stock takes' on progress were Realising the Benefits (2010), and `IAPT: 3 Year report; the First Million Patients` (2012). From 2011, the programme's focus has broadened, following publication of Talking Therapies: a four-year plan of action, one of a suite of documents supporting No health without mental health, the cross-Government mental health strategy for people of all ages.
This website is a learning and support tool for services, trainees and training providers; as well as those wanting to learn more about the history of the IAPT programme and includes a directory of local IAPT NHS Services offering psychological therapies for conditions including depression and anxiety.
In the video below, Professor Ken Laidlaw discusses the aims of the IAPT programme with Kevin Jarman, IAPT Programme Manager 2008-15 and Work and Health Joint Unit DWP/DH Lead: