NHS refusing to tackle health anxiety disorder with CBT

Another example of the NHS redtape…(Re-blogged from ‘GoToSee.co.uk’)

You may know it as ‘hypochondria’, but the condition now referred to as ‘health anxiety disorder’ is costing the NHS millions of pounds every year but one solution to the problem will leave hospital Trusts financially worse off.

According to a leading psychiatrist, the NHS will not tackle the problem due to a strange financial incentive that would see them lose out on funding.

Hypochondria – or health anxiety disorder – is often a bigger problem than the suspected ailment and one in ten patients who attend hospital is said to have it. Chest pains are the most common problem with patients becoming so concerned they are having a heart attack that they seek emergency medical treatment (usually by calling an ambulance).

Experts believe half of all health anxiety disorder patients could be helped with Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT).

Professor Peter Tyrer, head of the Centre for Mental Health at Imperial College, London, said in a report published last week:

“We have got excellent evidence that our approach – cognitive behaviour therapy for health anxiety – can reduce anxiety and hospital visits by over 40 per cent.”

However, due to a perverse ruling, any successes in preventing unnecessary hospital admissions are bad for trust finances because they are not paid for patients they do not admit.

Professor Tyrer added:

“We have trusts telling us that they like our treatment as it gets people better and makes them more satisfied with their care, but they are worried that they may suffer a loss of income from reduced attendances so it may not pay them to support our service. And this in spite of evidence that there would be financial gains to the NHS overall.”

“Dozens of patients say they have been ill for a decade and nothing has helped but now they feel better than ever. We had one patient who had had a stent [a metal tube to hold a blood vessel open] fitted for heart trouble. He had been so petrified of another heart attack he had not been out of the house for a year and only went for his hospital appointment by specially arranged taxi. After therapy he went on holiday and climbed Snowdon.”

It appears it’s all about figures and not solutions.

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2 Comments on “NHS refusing to tackle health anxiety disorder with CBT”

  1. neha Says:

    Nice Post

  2. NHS refusing to tackle health anxiety disorder with CBT « Grey ……

    I found your entry interesting do I’ve added a Trackback to it on my weblog :)…

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