Talking therapies service receives prestigious accreditation on first application

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Published on: 14th August 2019

The county’s talking therapies service, steps2change, received a prestigious accreditation for the quality of its services from the Royal College of Psychiatrists on their first application.

Steps2change is a free NHS service run by Lincolnshire Partnership NHS Foundation Trust. It provides support for common mental health problems such as depression or anxiety.

The Accreditation Programme for Psychological Therapies Service (APPTS) is designed specifically for talking therapies services. As part of the process steps2change had to demonstrate ongoing improvements in areas such as involving service users in planning and development; acting on feedback and providing information and choice to patients about types of care they receive.

APPTS accredited services also need to demonstrate that they are safe, effective, caring responsive and well-led. A rigorous, externally audited process included self-assessment against 76 quality standards, feedback from patients and staff and a peer visit from other psychological therapies service professionals.

Steps2change scored 100 per cent in all standards that are considered essential for providing safe and caring services. They also scored very highly in other areas, with 95 per cent for more aspirational standards.

Nick Harwood, steps2change Service Manager, paid credit to staff for their hard work which allowed the service to be recognised in this prestigious way.

The APPTS accreditation is a real achievement for our service and a great recognition of our commitment to provide quality mental health services for the people of Lincolnshire.

It recognises that in times of increasing numbers of people experiencing common mental health problems, steps2change consistently met national waiting time targets, while remaining focused on our patients and what’s best for them. This includes support from our employment advisors who work with service users to help them remain in paid employment, return to work following a period of mental ill health or find work that’s right for them.

The accreditation reaffirms that we provide quality care while also being a good place to work.

The report said: “Service management has an attitude of continual self-improvement and going the extra mile. Service users felt that steps2change was caring and that they had been treated with compassion, dignity and respect. The service is very responsive to feedback it receives and it has a very active service user involvement group. Staff wellbeing is one of its priorities and therapists feel well supported.”

If anyone is struggling with common mental health problems such as depression or anxiety they can self-refer to steps2change by going to


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