Luciana Berger – 2016 Parliamentary Question to the Department of Health

The below Parliamentary question was asked by Luciana Berger on 2016-03-02.

To ask the Secretary of State for Health, what steps he is taking to ensure that psychological therapies are available to deaf people.

Alistair Burt

It is the responsibility of local providers and commissioners to make the reasonable adjustments required by the Equality Act 2010 to ensure that disabled people are not placed at a substantial disadvantage compared to non-disabled people.

In order to reduce unacceptable variation in the provision of accessible information and communication support to disabled people, including adult sign readers, NHS England published a statutory accessible information standard. The standard sets out that all organisations providing NHS services must take steps to ensure that people receive information that they can access and understand, and receive communication support if they need it. Organisations must comply in full with the standard by 31 July 2016. Many local authorities provide interpreters within talking therapy settings.

There is ongoing activity by NHS England and the Department to encourage access to Improving Access to Psychological Therapy (IAPT) services by the under-represented groups. Over the last spending review we invested over £400 million into the IAPT programme to ensure access to talking therapies for those who need them. The Prime Minister recently announced £1 billion to start a revolution in mental health. NHS England’s Mental Health Taskforce reported in February 2016, setting out transformative plans using that additional funding, including for IAPT.

Additional funding will enable NHS England to put in place a five year plan to improve IAPT services across the country, increasing access to evidence-based psychological therapies to reach 25% of need, and helping 600,000 more people to access care each year by 2020 with a focus on people living with long-term physical health conditions.