The unholy alliance between the Government (NHS Commissioning Boards) & its preferred suppliers of Wellbeing or Mental Health

by Julia Evans on November 26, 2012

One of the Government Risk-Free suppliers, touts for more business to maximise his profits

This is how outcome measurements totally inappropriately drive a business, sucking Government funding away from practitioners with decades of experience of working within the field the Government designates as Mental Health.

My conclusion: The Government’s Wellbeing or Mental Health Clinic (regulated by CHRE/PSA/HPC/HCPC & Skills for Health & NICE & IAPT & outcome measurements) entirely supports suppliers such as ‘Get Stable’ or Anchor Counselling’ winning major Government contracts.  The Government’s clinic is based in regulated, unethical practice which registers on their factory-based outcomes measurements.

In the following, information which has been received via email is given in date order, for you to form your own picture of what is going on.  I think it is frightening.


1a) The supplier Anchor Counselling (has a considerable presence in the USA) appears.

1b) Comments on Commissioning Meetings in Bristol where ‘Get Stable’ first appears: Get Stable reappears in Sutton, Surrey: Opinions as to what is going on in Bristol.

2) Letter from Benjamin Fry of Get Stable touting for more business & comments on this letter

3) Extracts from the Get Stable web-site : its promise to clients & lure of practitioners.


1a)  Denis Postle in Hounslow Clinical Commissioning Group Public Meeting – Tuesday 20th November 2012 or here states:  Anchor Counselling is the provider for this very large area of London. ‘Anchor counseling’ has a considerable presence in the US but this may be coincidence. Their web-site doesn’t mention IAPT but that was what was clearly being expected from them at last night’s meeting. A key document defining what can/can’t/must/should be done is Shaping a Healthier Future. It may be worth noting, pp34-35, that with the possible exception of the director of Anchor Counselling, the very long list of ‘partners’ doesn’t include any psychotherapists, counsellors or psychoanalysts.

1b)  The following is extracted from information received by email from various sources

March 29th 2012 : a report on an information evening for therapists by a social enterprise called Get Stable : Available from Simon Stafford-Townsend’s, a Gestalt Psychotherapist in Bristol, web-site here : Get Stable: The future of NHS adult psychological therapy in Bristol?

11th October 2012 : A comment from Sutton, Surrey on Get Stable from B

Re your topic on  alternative provision to GP/ NHS provision – there is a new social enterprise in my area (Sutton, Surrey) which I have recently been invited to join – I have not taken up the invitation as I am uncertain whether I would receive any income. It is an interesting perspective but I think a little worrying in regard to income erosion. It is called Get Stable.

JE comments: So experienced practitioners are undercut by ‘Get Stable’.

12th October: Comment by A : Get Stable have been touting for business in Bristol too.

There was a meeting which many colleagues attended. They got a number of underemployed but BACP accredited (BACP accreditation) or UKCP registered (UKCP registration) counsellors  and psychotherapists in private practice to sign up to their scheme a few months back, and then applied for AQP (Any Qualified Provider) status with the NHS commissioners in Bristol and South Gloucestershire. The aim was to get direct referrals from GPs. My understanding is that Get Stable wasn’t granted AQP status locally. We may need to monitor each commissioning area if we want to understand the overall picture.

JE comments: So ‘Get Stable’ preys on the financially insecure………

13th October 2012 : Comment by A

Lechatdargent (ie Simon Stafford-Townsend) provides useful background information but too much remains unclear and he’s over-optimistic about its likely impact.

JE comments: I agree

13th October 2012 : Difficulties with the Government’s ponzi scheme : Comment by A

Simon Stafford-Townsend is not known to me.

There are other potential tangles in the Get Stable set up that aren’t mentioned (eg although a therapist is free to say yes or no to any particular referral it doesn’t take a genius to see that tensions will arise if some therapists think they are being offered a disproportionate number of clients with complex difficulties, while others get the work more likely to lead to a quick results and a fee being paid, along with a bonus for the high performing therapist).

It’s hard to see how any therapist would receive anything like £45 per hour if the cost to the NHS per AQP (Any Qualified Provider) session is to be £47.20. Note that the dynamic under Get Stable will be progressively to reduce the number of sessions per “result” as any therapist taking too many sessions to get “a result” with clients will be on a reducing income.

Get Stable will – if it ever gets any funding – surely end up promoting the further bastardisation of therapy.

We are already in the absurd situation within IAPT where, on occasion, clients showing a modest improvement in their scores can (sometimes) get further sessions, while those whose difficulties are such they show insufficient improvement after half a dozen or so sessions are referred to the same voluntary sector that has had its funding cut, often in order to fund IAPT. This is done because it would be “unethical” to do anything else! What a madhouse!

JE comments:  So the Government cuts provision within the NHS & GP surgeries, invents its own Mental Health or Wellbeing Clinic, which does not have the experience or nauce to treat, so it refers back to the services it has cut…  Wow!

2) The Government’s chosen risk-free supplier manipulates his way to prime supplier position.

The following email addressed to an eminent practitioner, has landed in my in-tray.

From: Benjamin Fry

On Behalf Of Benjamin Fry

Sent: 20 November 2012

To:  Eminent Practitioner

Subject: Get Stable update on NHS contracts

Hi Eminent Practitioner

With Christmas fast approaching, I hope you won’t mind me writing to you again and taking up your time!  This is also a time of year which can be very hard for people with mental health needs and so I’d like to keep you up-to-date on how you can help us to help them.

Get Stable is getting ready to deliver on contracts in Bristol, Surrey and Kent.  In addition we are now getting NHS referrals to my specialist clinic Khiron House (to my great surprise).  I set up both of these enterprises completely separately in response to the dreadful treatment I received in 2009 for my own mental health crisis – both in the public sector and in the private sector.  I now see that they are beginning to overlap so let me tell you a bit about where we are with both.

Wednesday, 21st November 2012: Julia Evans comments:

Re: Message Get Stable update on NHS contracts : For some reason I do not understand, I do not trust this man.

21st November 2012: response from C

Oh for good reason, Julia. Look at Benjamin Fry’s personal website

“the recovery bond” : Chelsea consulting room fee – £400 for first session, £200 for subsequent, Etc. Get Stable is sold within Cameron’s big society brand.

Extract from Benjamin Fry’s web-site, here:

Private Consultations

Benjamin has a private practice in Chelsea

Benjamin can see you for an individual consultation which will form the basis for a personally tailored recommended treatment plan.

Your consultation will be a complete diagnostic and educational session to understand how your history relates to your current problems. This helps you to agree what to do about them.

If you want continued support you can follow up with one-hour sessions as required or join a group. If your symptoms are severe or persistent Benjamin may recommend a stay at Khiron House as part of your treatment plan.

Benjamin’s consultations are in Chelsea, London and cost £400 for the initial two-hour consultation. Thereafter ad hoc one-hour follow-up sessions are £200.

Face-to-face contact is preferred but Benjamin is able to offer consultations via Skype for those people who are unable to get to London to see him and who have a fast and reliable internet connection.

JE comments:  Words fail me. What to say? And the Government defines this as safe ethical practice.

13th October 2012 : A’s Conclusion

Agree (we need to keep as far away as possible), but important to monitor developments and eventually generate/disseminate a critique.

JE comments: When practices, based within relationships of trust, are transplanted out of relationships into a factory production system ruled by NICE, Skills for Health, CHRE/PSA/HCPC/HPC & contracting out/outcomes measurement, then treatments will be perverted……  The above examples are just the beginning. Has anyone in the Government read ‘Animal Farm’?

3)  From Benjamin Fry’s message above: ‘Get Stable’ is getting ready to deliver on contracts in Bristol, Surrey and Kent.

Extracts from ‘Get Stable’s’ web-site:

‘Get Stable’s’ promise: How are you feeling today?

‘Get Stable’ can help you access a wider range of NHS funded talking therapies. 
We’ll show you where to go and what to do to get better.

How does it work From ‘Get Stable’ web-site

In order to receive NHS referrals from Get Stable, you must be a registered and authorised IAPTus user. IAPTus is a complete patient management and reporting solution for psychological therapists already familiar to many therapists and counsellors working in the NHS.

A token enabling secure access to IAPTus from your own consulting rooms is available from Get Stable at a one off fee of £80. Free IAPTus training is available from your local PCT.

Your PC or laptop must also be fully encrypted; free encrypted software can be obtained direct from Get Stable. Just email us

Referrals come direct to you via the IAPTus system.

You are supported every step of the way by our Clinical Services Coordinator, who will ensure your work is correctly supervised, monitored and managed to the highest professional standards.

Measuring outcomes (From the ‘Get Stable’ web-site)

Registering with Get Stable enables you to:

offer wider access to talking therapies and

contribute to a more comprehensive demonstration of the effectiveness of your approach.

You and your clients know your work is valuable and effective. Get Stable helps you contribute vital research information to demonstrate this.

Therapists’ effectiveness is measured by:

The number of clients referred moving to recovery

The average number of hours worked per client moving to recovery

Get Stable evaluates the client’s journey as an integral part of the payment by outcome process.