UKCP responds to updated NICE guideline for depression in children

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence have today published the updated guideline on the identification and management of depression in children. This follows a consultation with stakeholders earlier this year, which UKCP responded to.

The guideline now includes an emphasis on shared decision making between children, their parents or carers and healthcare professionals, with a specific recommendation that different treatment options are discussed.

However, changes to the guideline also include the recommendation that individual CBT is the sole first-line treatment option for children aged 12-18 with moderate to severe depression. Other changes include new recommendations around the use of digital therapy.

Responding to the updated guideline, UKCP Chief Executive, Prof Sarah Niblock, said:

‘We welcomed the opportunity earlier this year to comment on the draft version of this important Guideline.

‘It is encouraging to see that NICE have taken our and other stakeholders’ comments into consideration with respect to their research recommendations; in acknowledging the limited evidence around interventions for 5-11 year olds; and in recommending that children and their carers receive clear guidance about the different therapeutic options available to them.

‘However, we remain concerned about the limited first line treatment recommendations for children with moderate to severe depression, which will reduce choice and could affect key commissioning decisions.

‘We are also concerned about the inconsistency NICE have shown in recommending digital and pharmaceutical interventions with a limited evidence base, when some therapeutic approaches have been excluded on the same basis.

‘It is vital that the increasing number of children with depression across the country have the best possible access to a treatment that will work for them. Investing in the right care for these children now could save the Government millions of pounds in the long run.

‘It is therefore critical that, following the publication of this updated guideline, Ministers and commissioners avoid taking short-term cost saving decisions and instead commit to investing in treatments and trainings that will ensure quality of care and better long-term outcomes.’

  • Policy and research

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