Global medtech company SilverCloud Health has been awarded with a contract from the Powys Teaching Health Board to build an online cognitive therapies platform.
The project is being funded by the Welsh Government’s Efficiency Through Technology Fund, and it’s hoped that other health boards across Wales will take similar steps.
Used by 60 per cent of NHS mental health organisations across England, SilverCloud provides an online portal of evidence-based programmes to address conditions like stress, depression, anxiety, diabetes, COPD and chronic pain.
SilverCloud teamed up with NHS Wales to hold a launch event, which attracted officials from the Welsh Government and six other Welsh national health boards. They’re targeting a country-wide rollout.
Health Secretary Vaughan Gething said: “I am committed to improving access to mental health services throughout Wales so that patients can get the treatment they need more quickly and easily.
“This innovative project will allow patients to access CBT-based therapies online in their own homes. It is an excellent example of how we can use technology to met the increasing demand on the modern NHS in Wales. I look forward to seeing how the project develops.”
As an institution, the NHS is going through a major digital transformation drive. Recently appointed UK Health Secretary Matt Hancock has pledged to invest £500 million into health technology projects.
Speaking at the launch in Powys, Rhiannon Jones – director of community care, mental health and therapies at PTHB – said: “We are delighted to partner with Silvercloud Health, enabled through a Welsh Government Technology Grant, to implement online Cognitive Behavioural Therapy across Powys.
“The large geography of the County, coupled with rurality and isolation can present a challenge for timely and accessible mental health services. Online CBT will address some of these challenges, whilst also focusing on prevention, early help and support and self-management across all ages, using evidence-based technology.”
Ken Cahill, CEO of SilverCloud, added: “We are delighted to have PTHB on board as a partner and look forward to working with them and seeing the same kind of results that our programmes have achieved elsewhere across the UK, namely a user satisfaction of 98% and programme completion at 80%.
“Being able to offer as much choice as possible to people in terms of access to mental health support is vital to ensuring we curb the rising epidemic of anxiety and depression. We look forward to offering the same services to the other Welsh health boards as part of a national roll-out.”