Schizophrenia patients denied talking therapies

Mental health services are failing to comply with national guidelines, relying instead on potentially risky drugs

Thousands of people with mental health problems are being denied the best and most effective treatments, years after they were approved by the National Institute for Clinical Excellence, according to experts.

Proven talking therapies are not offered to people diagnosed with schizophrenia, despite pleas from patients and families for better access. The majority of patients continue to be treated solely with powerful psychiatric drugs and many are denied access to information about serious side effects, according to new research by Rethink, a mental health charity.

The findings are backed up by a Healthcare Commission survey of 14,000 people with mental health problems to be published on Friday, which shows nearly two-thirds have never been offered a talking therapy.

Nice is due to publish updated guidance for schizophrenia next week, which will add to pressure on mental health services to improve access to the most effective treatments. Compliance with Nice guidance will influence the star ratings given to hospitals for the first time this year.

Less than 15 per cent of people diagnosed with schizophrenia have had cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT), according to Rethink's findings. Two-thirds were given no choice about which medication they were prescribed, while one in three did not feel that they were involved in planning their care.

Dr Tim Kendall, a consultant psychiatrist from the Nice guideline development group, said: "There is no doubt that progress in some areas has not been good enough. Access to psychological therapies is the worst area, but we hope government investment in CBT for people with depression and anxiety will filter through for people with schizophrenia in a few years."

More detailed recommendations about where and how patients should receive talking therapy treatment are due next week, despite a widely recognised shortage of trained therapists.

Rethink's survey of 400 people also found the physical needs of mental health patients continue to be sidelined despite the damaging effects of psychiatric medication. People taking medication for schizophrenia die on average 14 years younger than people without a mental illness. One in 10 patients taking the drug Olanzapine – the most commonly prescribed to mental health patients in the UK – develop diabetes.

The new Nice guidance is set to withdraw unconditional support for newer drugs in light of compelling evidence about dangerous side effects. And ways to improve treatment for people from black and ethnic minority groups will be included for the first time.

Jamal Ahmed, 41, from West Yorkshire was diagnosed with schizophrenia five years ago but has never heard of the Nice guidance.

Mr Ahmed said: "I have been on an endless list of medications but my psychiatrist never discusses side effects and he doesn't like me asking questions. In his opinion, he's the doctor and so he knows best. What I think doesn't matter. He asks me the same set of questions and I tell him what he wants to hear. But I'd like him to sit down, listen to what I'm saying and come out of his box."

He added: "I found the Hearing Voices group from a poster, which is great because I get support from others in the same boat. Everyone in the group lies to their doctors because they are afraid what will happen if they are honest. There are no other choices."

Rufus May, Clinical Psychologist: 'What's the point of guidelines managers and psychiatrists feel free to ignore?'

The Nice guidelines for schizophrenia are all very "nice" in theory, but they are not being put into practice. Nice recommends choice, lower doses of medication and psychological treatments. What is the point of guidelines that psychiatrists and managers feel free to ignore?

Patients do not feel listened to by their clinicians and either rebel or become passive shadows of their former selves. If implemented, the guidelines would do much to improve this relationship. But listening to patients and achieving a collaborative relationship with them takes time and patience. It seems more efficient to do things the old-fashioned, "we know what's best for you" way. However, if we did spend more time getting alongside people it would build their capacity for recovery and independence, and save time and money in the long-term. Another problem is that most professionals are not trained to implement the guidelines.

Will the new guidelines have more impact? I hope so, but fear not.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Life and Style
ebooksA superb mix of recipes serving up the freshest of local produce in a delicious range of styles
Life and Style
ebooksFrom the lifespan of a slug to the distance to the Sun: answers to 500 questions from readers
News
Teeth should be brushed twice a day to prevent tooth decay
education
News
Bryan Cranston as Walter White, in the acclaimed series 'Breaking Bad'
news
Sport
footballChelsea 6 Maribor 0: Blues warm up for Premier League showdown with stroll in Champions League - but Mourinho is short of strikers
News
Those who were encouraged to walk in a happy manner remembered less negative words
science
Arts and Entertainment
Princess Olga in 'You Can't Get the Staff'
tvReview: The anachronistic aristocrats, it seemed, were just happy to have some attention
News
Renee Zellweger as Bridget Jones
i100
Life and Style
tech

Board creates magnetic field to achieve lift

News
There have been various incidents of social media users inadvertently flouting the law
news

Life and Style
Stack ‘em high?: quantity doesn’t always trump quality, as Friends of the Earth can testify
techThe proliferation of online petitions allows us to register our protests at the touch of a button. But do they change anything?
News
Bourgogne wine maker Laboure-Roi vice president Thibault Garin (L) offers the company's 2013 Beaujolais Nouveau wine to the guest in the wine spa at the Hakone Yunessun spa resort facilities in Hakone town, Kanagawa prefecture, some 100-kilometre west of Tokyo
i100
Sport
CSKA Moscow celebrate after equalising with a late penalty
footballCSKA Moscow 2 Manchester City 2: Premier League champions let two goal lead slip in Russia
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs General

    IT Project Manager

    Competitive: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client based in Chelmsford a...

    Business Intelligence Specialist - work from home

    £40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: An established and growing IT Consultancy fir...

    Business Intelligence Specialist - work from home

    £40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: An established and growing IT Consultancy fir...

    IT Manager

    £40000 - £45000 per annum + pension, healthcare,25 days: Ashdown Group: An est...

    Day In a Page

    Indiana serial killer? Man arrested for murdering teenage prostitute confesses to six other murders - and police fear there could be many more

    A new American serial killer?

    Police fear man arrested for murder of teen prostitute could be responsible for killing spree dating back 20 years
    Sweetie, the fake 10-year-old girl designed to catch online predators, claims her first scalp

    Sting to trap paedophiles may not carry weight in UK courts

    Computer image of ‘Sweetie’ represented entrapment, experts say
    Fukushima nuclear crisis: Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on - and may never return home

    Return to Fukushima – a land they will never call home again

    Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on from nuclear disaster
    Wildlife Photographer of the Year: Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize

    Wildlife Photographer of the Year

    Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize
    Online petitions: Sign here to change the world

    Want to change the world? Just sign here

    The proliferation of online petitions allows us to register our protests at the touch of a button. But do they change anything?
    Ed Sheeran hits back after being labelled too boring to headline festivals

    'You need me, I don’t need you'

    Ed Sheeran hits back after being labelled too boring to headline festivals
    How to Get Away with Murder: Shonda Rhimes reinvents the legal drama

    How to Get Away with Murder

    Shonda Rhimes reinvents the legal drama
    A cup of tea is every worker's right

    Hard to swallow

    Three hospitals in Leicester have banned their staff from drinking tea and coffee in public areas. Christopher Hirst explains why he thinks that a cuppa is every worker's right
    Which animals are nearly extinct?

    Which animals are nearly extinct?

    Conservationists in Kenya are in mourning after the death of a white northern rhino, which has left the species with a single male. These are the other species on the brink
    12 best children's shoes

    Perfect for leaf-kicking: 12 best children's shoes

    Find footwear perfect to keep kids' feet protected this autumn
    Anderlecht vs Arsenal: Gunners' ray of light Aaron Ramsey shines again

    Arsenal’s ray of light ready to shine again

    Aaron Ramsey’s injury record has prompted a club investigation. For now, the midfielder is just happy to be fit to face Anderlecht in the Champions League
    Comment: David Moyes' show of sensitivity thrown back in his face by former Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson

    Moyes’ show of sensitivity thrown back in his face... by Ferguson

    Manchester United legend tramples on successor who resisted criticising his inheritance
    Two super-sized ships have cruised into British waters, but how big can these behemoths get?

    Super-sized ships: How big can they get?

    Two of the largest vessels in the world cruised into UK waters last week
    British doctors on brink of 'cure' for paralysis with spinal cord treatment

    British doctors on brink of cure for paralysis

    Sufferers can now be offered the possibility of cure thanks to a revolutionary implant of regenerative cells
    Ranked seventh in world’s best tourist cities - not London, or Edinburgh, but Salisbury

    Lonely Planet’s Best in Travel 2015

    UK city beats Vienna, Paris and New York to be ranked seventh in world’s best tourist destinations - but it's not London