Supplementary memorandum submitted by
Mind (CP 19A)
Mind would like to thank the Committee for the
opportunity to give evidence relating to NHS charges and the effect
they have, particularly on those who experience mental distress.
During the evidence session on 2 February 2006,
the Committee requested that Mind forward information relating
people who pay for treatment prescribed by their doctor, in particular
those who had paid for counselling and talking therapies. The
Committee was also interested in the impact of not receiving prescribed
These issues were explored in Mind's Hidden
Costs of Mental Health report, published in 2003, a copy of
which is attached.
The report found that of the 455 respondents
(all of whom had a diagnosed mental health problems):
64% had paid for some form of care
or treatment (prescribed or non-prescribed) for their diagnosed
mental health problem. The average monthly payment for this group
was £68, and included counselling and talking therapies,
complementary therapies, drugs and medication, exercise, and other
forms of help.
Of the total group, 34% had paid
for drugs or medication which had been prescribed by their doctor.
45% of respondents had paid out of
their own pocket for any form of care or treatment prescribed
by their doctor. Of this group 21% had paid for prescribed counselling
or talking therapies, and 25% had paid for recommended complementary
Of those paying for treatment, only
one fifth were paying the equivalent of a single prescription
or less (£6.20 in 2002-03).The average monthly spend for
those paying for treatments which had been prescribed by their
doctor was £37.
58% of respondents stated that they
had missed out on some form of care or treatments which they felt
would have been beneficial, most commonly because they could not
afford it. The most common treatment which had not been received
was counselling or other talking therapy.
Of those who had paid for treatment
or who didn't get a treatment they felt would have been beneficial,
almost one half (47%) felt their recovery had been held back or
their ability to cope had been reduced as a result of not getting
the treatment they wanted or having to pay for it.
From this it can clearly be seen that many people
who experience mental distress pay a significant amount out of
their own pocket for care and treatment for their mental health
problem. The amount paid, even for prescribed care, can be significant
and can result in people not being able to access the help they
need, or experiencing hardship through being required to pay for
care they need.
It is of particular concern that so many are
prescribed counselling or other talking therapies by their doctor
but cannot receive this due to the NHS being unable to provide
this within a reasonable timescale.
The NICE guidelines for depression and anxiety indicate
that talking therapies should be the first line treatment for
those experiencing mild to moderate depression and anxiety. Mind
therefore feels that inability to provide this constitutes a failure
of the NHS in its duty to provide adequate care and treatment
to people experiencing mental health problems.
Mind would be happy to provide any further information
if the Committee would find it helpful.
Policy Officer, Mind
20 February 2006