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Services supporting people in Colchester and Tendring with depression, anxiety and certain other mental health conditions will be transferred to a new provider from Thursday 1 April 2021.

The Improving Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT) programme in north east Essex has been delivered by Hertfordshire Partnership NHS Foundation Trust (HPFT) for the last six years but following a full open market procurement process, these services will now be provided by Essex Partnership University NHS Foundation Trust (EPUT).

The previous contract with HPFT came to an end on 31 March 2020 but it was decided to delay the transfer of services to EPUT due to the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on mobilisation.

IAPT provides free access to counselling and cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) for conditions including depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder, fears, phobias and problems with sleeping. It also comprises a diagnostic service for autism spectrum disorder (ASD) for patients aged 16 and over in partnership with ASD providers Healios.

The services, previously called Health in Mind, will now be provided by Therapy for You (IAPT).

Therapy for You (IAPT) will run in partnership with mental health charity Mind and digital health provider Ieso Digital under the new seven-year contract worth £43m.

Services will be delivered in a variety of ways including face-to-face appointments (when COVID restrictions are lifted), over the telephone and via digitally enabled therapies.

Patients who have received CBT with Ieso Digital say they value the service because there is little or no wait to get started, sessions are discreet and cannot be overheard and they can take place via phone, tablet or desktop.  Appointments are flexible to suit the patient and session transcripts are saved so that patients can re-read what was covered in their therapy later on.

Pam Green, Chief Operating Officer, NHS North East Essex Clinical Commissioning Group, said,

“Therapy for You (IAPT) will bring IAPT and secondary care mental health services in north east Essex together, allowing for greater continuity and integrated care provision.  EPUT is a key member of the North East Essex Health and Wellbeing Alliance so should a patient require alternative support they will easily be able to access it.

 “I would like to thank HPFT for their excellent work over the duration of their contract and for continuing to provide these services for a further year to ensure smooth mobilisation and transfer, thereby minimising disruption for patients.

“All patients have been informed about the transfer and are advised to contact EPUT directly if they have any concerns moving forward. Every effort is being made to ensure full continuity of patient care and I would like to reassure patients that they will be fully supported both as the new service begins and beyond.”

Members of the public will be able to self-refer to the service online at www.therapyforyou.co.uk  or by telephone on 01206 334001 from 1st April 2021. Patients can also be referred by their GP.

Patients treated by HPFT who wish to discuss what the transfer will mean for them can contact EPUT’s Therapy For You (IAPT) service on 01206 334001 or email epunft.neeiaptcontactcentre@nhs.net.