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Talking therapy over the phone just as good as face-to-face

2nd October 2012

A team of British researchers has said that providing talking therapies by telephone could have financial benefits for the health service and works as well as sessions conducted in person.

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A team from the University of Cambridge worked with NHS Midlands and East and the National Institute for Health Research Collaboration for Leadership in Applied Health Research and Care (NIHR CLAHRC).

The team examined information collected from 39,000 people in seven Improving Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT) services from the East of England.

They then drew comparisons between talking therapies provided face-to-face and those conducted over the telephone. 

The researchers found that for the majority of patients, cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) delivered by telephone had the same effectiveness as those sessions which were done face-to-face.

The results also showed that the cost for each session was 36.2% less if carried out by phone.

Professor Peter Jones, who led the study, said: "Providing therapy over the phone will not only help individuals gain much-needed access to mental health treatment, it will provide a more cost effective way of providing these services at a time when everyone is concerned about cutting costs." 

NHS Midlands and East responded to the research by instigating a regional training programme to make certain their therapy staff understood how to conduct phone sessions. 

 

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