Skip to main content

CEP discussion paper

Enhancing Recovery Rates: Lessons from Year One of the English Improving Access to Psychological Therapies Programme


Background: The English Improving Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT) initiative aims to make evidence-based psychological therapies for depression and anxiety disorder more widely available in the National Health Service (NHS). 32 IAPT services based on a stepped care model were established in the first year of the programme. We report on the reliable recovery rates achieved by patients treated in the services and identify predictors of recovery at patient level, service level, and as a function of compliance with National Institute of Health and Care Excellence (NICE) Treatment Guidelines. Method: Data from 19,395 patients who were clinical cases at intake, attended at least two sessions, had at least two outcomes scores and had completed their treatment during the period were analysed. Outcome was assessed with the patient health questionnaire depression scale (PHQ-9) and the anxiety scale (GAD-7). Results: Data completeness was high for a routine cohort study. Over 91% of treated patients had paired (pre-post) outcome scores. Overall, 40.3 % of patients were reliably recovered at post-treatment, 63.7% showed reliable improvement and 6.6% showed reliable deterioration. Most patients received treatments that were recommended by NICE. When a treatment not recommended by NICE was provided, recovery rates were reduced. Service characteristics that predicted higher reliable recovery rates were: high average number of therapy sessions; higher step-up rates among individuals who started with low intensity treatment; larger services; and a larger proportion of experienced staff. Conclusions: Compliance with the IAPT clinical model is associated with enhanced rates of reliable recovery.


David M. Clark, Alex Gyani, Richard Layard and Roz Shafran

4 July 2013     Paper Number CEPDP1227

Download PDF - Enhancing Recovery Rates: Lessons from Year One of the English Improving Access to Psychological Therapies Programme

This CEP discussion paper is published under the centre's Community Wellbeing programme.