Bosses hit out at Blackpool depression claims

Mark Lunney, chief executive of Lancashire Mind
Mark Lunney, chief executive of Lancashire Mind
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HEALTH bosses in Blackpool have hit back at figures showing the resort is at the centre of an appalling depression crisis.

According to the latest NHS figures on people returning to full health after completing psychological therapy Blackpool fared the worst, with only 5.6 per cent of patients overcoming depression or anxiety disorders. The national average was 42 per cent.

But a spokesman for NHS Blackpool said the statistics did not show the whole picture and were “misleading”.

She added: “They relate to only a partial submission due to limited data being available at the time. The figures refer to Improving Access to Psychological Therapy, which is only one arm of the service available to people. The mental health team at NHS Blackpool work to ensure people who are referred have a specialist assessment and can access support or treatment directly from the team and be sign-posted to where appropriate support may be available.

“Most people referred are seen within two to three weeks and some within the same day or same week.

“Primary care services are seeing high numbers of people with common mental health problems, the consequences of which impact on health, personal and family relationships and ability to work and function well on a daily basis. For that reason, it recognises the need to work with other agencies.”

The figures for April to June were compiled as part of an examination of the NHS Improving Access to Psychological Therapies programme, launched in 2008, to cut the number of people unable to work due to depression-related conditions.

Mark Lunney, chief executive of Lancashire Mind, said the figures confirmed the need for greater investment in talking therapy and better access to counselling services.

He added: “This confirms what Lancashire Mind had already identified as being a high level of unmet need, not just in Blackpool, but across the regional demographic for the North West.

“Lancashire Mind’s new Counselling Service aims to contribute to improving such access and we are in discussions with health commissioners across the County to see how that can be better achieved.”