Exploring access and engagement with improving access to psychological therapies (IAPT) services, before, during and after the COVID-19 lockdown: a service evaluation in the northwest of England

Irini Laura Verbist, Hannah Fabian, Dale Huey, Helen Brooks, Karina Lovell, Amy Blakemore

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Abstract

Objective: The purpose of this study was to compare clients’ prevalence and explore the characteristics that predicted access and engagement with IAPT treatment before, during, and after Lockdown. Method: We conducted a retrospective observational service evaluation, using routinely collected IAPT data from n = 13,019 clients who entered treatment between March and September in 2019, 2020, and 2021. Chi-square and multiple logistic regression were used to explore associations and potential predictors of access and engagement with IAPT treatment. Results: The number of people accessing and engaging with IAPT treatment was significantly higher after lockdown compared to before. Unemployed clients were less likely to access treatment during and after lockdown. Yet, perinatal clients and people from a black ethnic background were more likely to access treatment during lockdown. Being young and being unemployed were predictors of treatment disengagement across all three time points, whereas perinatal clients were less likely to engage only before and during lockdown. Clients who were not prescribed medication and clients with a long-term condition were more likely to engage during lockdown. Conclusion: The demonstrated changes in access and engagement with IAPT treatment after the introduction of remote therapy urges the services to further consider the individual needs of specific client groups.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages12
JournalPsychotherapy Research
Early online date6 Mar 2023
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 6 Mar 2023

Keywords

  • COVID-19
  • IAPT
  • access
  • engagement
  • psychological therapies
  • remote therapy

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