A HEALTH trust that runs a mental health ward in Redditch has hit back at claims patients are being treated by 'untrained therapists'.

Data from the Royal College of Psychiatrists suggested more than two in five therapists treating people with severe depression or anxiety at the Worcestershire Health and Care Trust were delivering treatment they were not trained in.

The figures were part of an audit which examined the care received by people with anxiety or depression who were referred to secondary mental health services, including mental health hospitals or community teams, which deal with severe or complex cases.

However, a spokesman for the trust has refuted the claims.

They said: “Our psychologists are appropriately qualified, trained and supervised to provide a range of treatments to our service users, which includes psychological therapies for individuals who present with anxiety and/or depression, and therefore the headline figures quoted following this audit are misleading.

“All of the clinical psychologists and counselling psychologists in our secondary care psychology service have doctoral level qualifications.

“All staff are clinically supervised which will also help ensure they are only delivering treatments they are qualified in and we are also part of national and regional initiatives to develop the training available to psychologists.”

The trust runs a number of mental health wards including Hill Crest in Redditch.

It is a 25 bed mixed gender treatment ward which takes transfers from Holt Ward in Worcester when it is identified a patient requires long term treatment.

The ethos of the ward is "recovery focused" and "patient led".

A statement on the trust's website says that Hill Crest’s role is to assess, treat and support patients offering opportunities to engage patients in activities and therapies that are meaningful and fulfilling.

Charlotte Gill, from mental health charity Mind, said: “We know there are issues with a lack of NHS therapists with the right training to meet demand. Thousands of people access talking therapies through the NHS but it must urgently address its shrinking mental health workforce.”

A spokesman for the trust added: “Recruitment challenges aren’t unique to us, but we have a number of initiatives to retain and recruit skilled, trained and qualified clinical staff, including increasing the numbers of trainees we have in our services."