One in five patients wait over a year for talking therapy despite the nationwide scheme to promote it.
We Need to Talk, a report by mental health charity Mind - seen exclusively by HSJ - looked at the Improving Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT) programme, introduced in 2007.
It found an “invaluable” service in many places but said “the overall picture is patchy”.
The report said: “The way in which some local areas have interpreted and implemented IAPT has actually led to a reduction in both choice and access to psychological therapies.”
Mind surveyed more than 500 people who sought psychological therapies in the past two years.
Policy and campaigns manager Colin Walker said IAPT worked and should be extended.
He said: “Where it hasn’t made an impact it is because it has been inappropriately rolled out at a local level.”