Two years ago, we published within this journal a scoping article (Turpin et al, 2006) concerning the urgent need to review and enhance the workforce responsible for delivering psychological therapies to people seeking help for common mental health problems in primary care (London School of Economics, 2006). We estimated that the demand for such interventions, the service models that might deliver increased capacity for psychological treatments, the implications for workforce numbers and the impact that this would have on education and training. Much of the thinking that was adopted within the review was based on current development work around the mental health workforce led by the National Workforce Programme sponsored by the National Institute for Mental Health England (NIMHE) on New Ways of Working (NWW).
The current paper reflects on the process and the added value that NWW has contributed to what is a radical new venture, which has been described by the lead evaluator of the pilot Improving Access for Psychological Therapies (IAPT) phase, Professor Glenys Parry, as ‘the industrialisation of psychological therapies’. More specifically, it reviews the implementation of a national programme designated as IAPT, which was commissioned on the basis of the NWW work, and the evidence accrued from the IAPT national demonstration sites at Doncaster and Newham, together with the efforts of Lord Layard and the New Savoy Partnership. The first year implementation of IAPT is described, together with the lessons learned from the roll out. As the programme has developed, it has become important to ensure that clients also have a choice of evidence-based interventions. NWW has provided a means to help practitioners come together from a range of therapeutic orientations and professions to contribute to this more diverse workforce. Finally, it is argued that NWW has been instrumental in helping managers and professions alike think more flexibly about service models and provision, and how to develop a new workforce competent to deliver such an innovative service.