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NHS 24 to add online cognitive behavioural therapy


Mark Say Managing Editor

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Moves are being made to add an online cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) service to Scotland’s NHS 24 portal.

The organisation of the same name that runs the portal has been in discussions with Ieso Digital Health, a specialist in the field, and is now running a procurement for support in the project.

The move has been prompted by the Scottish Government urging NHS health boards to increase access to evidence based services such as CBT, especially in remote areas, and a belief that a digital solution delivered by accredited therapists can make it available to more people.

NHS 24 has indicated that patients could be referred to the service or self-refer, and use a secure internet ‘therapy room’. This would come with an identity authentication function for both the patient and therapist, with the sessions delivered through typed conversations, the transcripts of which could be retained.

In addition, the sessions would have to comply with guidelines from the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence.

NHS 24 has been talking with Ieso, which provides a similar service to NHS England organisations, and NHS Western Isles in Scotland, which is also considering the use of online CBT.

So far there is clear no indication of when the service should be available, but the contract for support will run for a year beginning in April with the possibility to extend for another year.

CBT is a talking therapy that helps patients to manage mental and emotional problems by changing the way they think and behave. It is often used in treating anxiety and depression.

Image by Urstadt at English Wikipedia, CC BY-SA 3.0

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