The New Savoy Partnership Website

Will they do well? An independent evaluation of the IAPT experiment

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Professor Glenys Parry, Professor of Applied Psychological Therapies, University of Sheffield School of Health and Related Research

  • Key questions and how the evaluation team is addressing them
  • Emergent findings and their place in a policy context

Dr Ian McPherson, Programme Director, National Institute for Mental Health in England (NIMHE), Care Services Improvement Partnership

  • Evaluation, evidence and experience
  • How can data inform policy, planning and personal choice?

Session report by Jan McGregor Hepburn, BPC

GLENYS PARRY spoke about the IAPT demonstration sites [in Doncaster and Newham, I think]. She basically said that it is too soon to report - the trial does not end until 2009, but she described the objectives-

  • describe models [CBT]
  • determine service user outcomes
  • produce and organizational analysis
  • look at the economic outcome

She talked about producing research that is transparent, trustworthy, not simplistic and giving guidance for future areas of research.

Glenys Parry speaks very well, and is lucid and convincing. She quoted Charlie Brown in the Peanuts cartoons: ‘How can we be wrong when we are so sincere?’ as a problem which can only be dealt with by research.

IAN McPHERSON was the respondent. He is the Programme Director for NIMHE [National Institute for Mental Health in England], who made several salient points.

He noted that the policy decisions have been made in advance of the evaluation, and that this is politics [get used to it, seemed to be the sub-text]. He remarked that he had onserved that if the emerging evidence is not in line with strongly held opinions, the methodological defence is used! Needs and services need to be connected up, otherwise policy, implementation and evaluation appear to be at odds with personal experience. He concluded with what he thought were the challenges of evaluation- exploring legitimate professional tensions without confusing commissioners and the public, and creating a more constructive debate which acknowledges differences but does not distract from improving access to therapy.

He also dropped in a couple of useful facts - that the guidelines for Commissioners on how to implement the ‘Operating Framework’ for provision of psychological therapies are out any time; and that individual budgets - i.e. patients being able to chose where they receive their therapy, and what sort - may well be the future. I thought this might be good news for us.