Centre for Specialist Psychological Therapies receives national accreditation

Posted: 02/06/20

The APPTS accreditation logo above a photo of the Walkergate Park hospital

Our Centre for Specialist Psychological Therapies (CSPT) in Newcastle has recently received accreditation from the Accreditation Programme for Psychological Therapies Services (APPTS). This programme recognises services that have high standards of care and treatment, share their good practice with other teams, and encourage continuous improvements.

Tracy Thorne, Consultant Clinical Psychologist and one of the Clinical Leads at the CSPT, explained: “We applied for accreditation for several reasons, particularly to receive an external, independent review of our work, and to celebrate our areas of good practice and expertise and thus raise staff morale.

“It was also really important to us that people who have used psychological therapies services are involved at every step of the APPTS process, so accredited services can be assured that they have been approved by the kind of people who use their service.”

The Centre for Specialist Psychological Therapies, based at Walkergate Park in Newcastle, is an essential part of the Trust’s ‘stepped care’ support pathways. These teams deliver highly specialist psychological interventions to people with very complex mental health needs across the north of England. The teams also deliver a range of high-quality accredited training on various psychological interventions to clinicians employed by CNTW and other NHS Trusts across the country.

APPTS is run by the Centre for Quality Improvement at the Royal College of Psychiatrists, in partnership with the British Psychological Society. To receive the accreditation, services are assessed against 56 standards in five categories: safe, effective, caring, responsive and well-led.

Following an initial self-review by the service, a peer review visit was held on 3 October 2019. Four reviewers came to talk to the teams and service users about the information they had provided on the standards, and their general experiences of using or working within CSPT.

The Centre for Specialist Psychological Therapies’ final APPTS report found that the service was:

  • Safe, with comprehensive risk policies and procedures in place for everyone’s safety, suitable training in place and staff having a good understanding of policies.
  • Effective, as staff followed NICE-recommended guidelines while still being able to offer flexible, bespoke options tailored to individuals, due to the complexity of the needs of people being seen by this service.
  • Caring; the report said, “The team appear genuinely caring and treat service users with compassion, dignity, kindness and respect. Service users spoken to on the day described the service as being ‘amazing’ and reported high levels of satisfaction with the treatment they received.
  • Responsive to peoples’ needs; peer reviewers were impressed with the referrers’ pack which was clear and comprehensive, and saw that staff actively discussed with service users what went well in their week to identify activities that can help improve their wellbeing.
  • Well-led, as the peer reviewers heard from staff that they feel very well supported by management, both in their professional development and personal wellbeing.

When I started therapy, I could not go out, could not cook or be around people. My therapist was kind and explained my illness and taught me the skills to get better. My life is normal now and happy; if I have a bad day, I have the tools to help me cope. My therapist was so good at teaching, listening and explaining. I am so grateful.

The outstanding ability of staff to both identify the causes of difficulties and provide highly effective treatment pathways is hugely admirable. All staff I have had contact within the unit are also exemplary in treating patients with kindness and compassion.

This therapy has been invaluable to me and my family. It has definitely made a massive impact on my journey to recovery. Everybody has been so friendly and understanding as well as giving great advice. Normally, I would have a panic attack, or my mood drops significantly after any therapy, but family therapy always has me smiling when I leave!

Feedback gathered from CSPT service users as part of the review

Tracy Thorne added: “We are really delighted with the findings of the report and the positive feedback from service users. I would like to thank the whole CSPT team, who show commitment, collaboration, and a clear focus on trying to provide the best possible service to our patients, and a great working environment for our colleagues. Services which gain APPTS accreditation complete an action plan for further improvements, and receive a full review of this every 3 years, so we look forward to continuing to improve the service we deliver.”