Magazine article Public Finance

Reforms 'Need More' NHS Therapists

Magazine article Public Finance

Reforms 'Need More' NHS Therapists

Article excerpt

A shortage of NHS therapists is likely to force the government to outsource a crucial part of its welfare reforms, Work and Pensions secretary John Button has warned.

Hutton told MPs this week that the NHS does not have the capacity to deal with his ambitious plan to help thousands of people with minor mental health conditions into employment by using cognitive behaviour therapists to prepare them for their new roles.

The extended use of these therapists forms part of Hutton's green paper proposals on welfare reform and has been successfully trialled in the Pathways to Work programme. This extends government support for incapacity benefit claimants through the use of back-to-work advice, NHS treatments and working credits.

Hutton has proposed scrapping IB and replacing it with a two-tier payment structure: a higher rate for those who genuinely cannot work and a lower rate for those who can be moved back into work over time, which includes many people with mental health conditions.

He also intends to roll out the Pathways programme nationally, at a cost of £500m by 2008, to finance the changes. …

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