Telephone-based CBT

Close-up of a telephone.

Project: Talking therapies for patients with chronic widespread pain

What are we trying to do?

We’re implementing and evaluating the use of individually tailored programmes of talking therapies for patients with chronic widespread pain (CWP).

This 12 month project, supported by NHS Salford Clinical Commissioning Group’s (CCG) research and innovation fund aims to improve patient care for people in Salford who experience CWP.

We aim to harness the opportunity for service innovation by evaluating the implementation of a flexible pain pathway offering stepped care (using both high and low intensity interventions), including evidence-based, telephone-delivered talking therapy. This will be delivered by specially trained Psychological Wellbeing Practitioners (PWPs) from the Salford Six Degrees Improved Access to Psychological Therapy (IAPT) service, taking account of patient preferences and ensuring that patients receive the most appropriate option(s) for treatment.

Why is it important?

CWP is a major public health problem as it affects between 11 and 13% of the population. It is largely referred to as pain that persists for more than three months. We also know that CWP is associated with lost work productivity, mental ill health, reduced quality of life and high healthcare costs.

Previous research conducted under controlled conditions by the Universities of Aberdeen and Manchester has shown that a short course of telephone-administered cognitive behavioural therapy (8 sessions with a total therapist time of 4.5 hours) resulted in improvements which were sustained over 24 months in patients experiencing CWP. It is highly cost-effective and has the potential to facilitate faster access to talking therapies for patients with CWP. However, this approach has not yet been implemented into routine practice.  

Telephone-delivered talking therapy is convenient and offers the potential of making the therapy available to a much wider range of patients.

Who are we working with?

NHS Salford CCG
Salford Royal NHS Foundation Trust
Six Degrees.


More information

You can directly download the research summary for this study here.

For a patient perspective on the study, please visit the ‘Featured’ section of this site and read the blog by Val Derbyshire, Chair of Salford Fibromyalgia Support Group, who worked closely with the research team.

For more information please contact Kate Woodward-Nutt, Project Manager.