Answers to commons questions we’re asked:

Who can attend this clinic?

We accept NHS referrals for anyone living in the UK experiencing the problems mentioned in our clinic information page, subject to NHS funding approval. Referrals can be made by your GP or other NHS professional. We cannot accept privately funded referrals.

Do I need to have had previous NHS treatment to get a referral?

We don’t require that people have had previous NHS treatment to seek referral. We do advise that you discuss your needs with your GP and/or a health professional responsible for your care as a starting point, as local services may be able to meet your needs. Often referrals to OHSPIC are made when local services are unavailable or have been unable to provide help that has led to sufficient and lasting change. It may also be the case that, after assessment with our service, the recommendation is for you to start or continue working with your local team. In this instance we may provide supervision or consultation to the member of staff you work with, as required.

I live in Oxfordshire or Buckinghamshire – can I be seen at OHSPIC?

OHSPIC is a national service accepting referrals from NHS clinicians throughout the country. Service users in Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire can access national services once local services have provided available suitable care. The referral process would then follow the same process as referrals from other Trusts, where the referrer requests funding from the BOBICB (Buckinghamshire, Oxfordshire, and Berkshire West Integrated Care Board), a committee that considers requests for national funding on an individual basis.

Can I ask to see a specific member of the team?

We carefully consider every referral we receive and try to allocate the most appropriate therapist based on your needs and therapist availability. We cannot guarantee that a specific team member will be available to see you. Our team, including, Professor Salkovskis, meet regularly and work together to provide the best possible care.

Is a Yale-Brown Obsessive compulsive Score (YBOCS) a requirement to be seen?

No. We do ask people referred to our clinic to complete questionnaires, but it is not necessary for people to reach a specific level of difficulty before we can see them.

Can I be referred if I have a diagnosis of an Autistic Spectrum Condition (ASC)?

OHSPIC considers each referral on a case-by-case basis. It is common for people to have more than one diagnosis or difficulty, and each person’s story and situation is unique. OHSPIC can accept referrals for people who have a diagnosis of ASC or who suspect they might have ASC. We are not a specialist ASC clinic and do not offer diagnostic autism assessments but can offer assessments where the features and impact of ASC are considered and separated from symptoms of anxiety disorders and/or trauma. The assessment process would seek to understand the problems you are experiencing and develop a psychological treatment programme specific to your individual needs.

There is evidence to say that Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) can be effectively delivered to treat anxiety problems and OCD in the context of ASCs when appropriate modifications are made to session structure and content. OHSPIC may be able to offer such treatment following assessment (and the required funding) if the primary problem is an anxiety disorder. If ASC appears to be the primary problem, or there are additional needs that OHSPIC could not effectively work with, we may provide recommendations for treatment to be delivered elsewhere. Further information can be found at National Autistic Society (autism.org.uk).

Does OHSPIC offer residential treatment?

No, we do not offer residential or inpatient therapy. Usually, therapy will be offered on an outpatient basis with people attending sessions remotely via video-call or in-person at our clinic in Oxford. In some instances, we will provide outreach sessions in people’s homes or other locations, depending on their needs.

How long will it take for me to be seen?

We try to see people as quickly as possible for assessment and treatment and to keep waiting times to a minimum. The time taken to be seen depends on the time taken for:

  1. Reviewing and accepting or declining initial referral documents (usually 1-2 weeks)
  2. Granting of assessment funding by a service user’s local funding panel
  3. Allocation of an OHSPIC assessment session with an appropriate clinician
  4. A team decision on whether treatment with OHSPIC is recommended or recommendations for treatment elsewhere
  5. Granting of treatment funding by a service user’s local funding panel
  6. Allocation to an appropriate OHSPIC clinician

We aim to keep you informed of any waiting time and to see you as soon as possible. Over the last year, waiting times for assessments have been 6 -12 weeks and for treatment the

waiting time has varied between a few weeks and 6 months. The clinical team in OHSPIC all work part time in the clinic with additional roles in other NHS services and in Oxford University. As with other small specialist clinical teams, unexpected staff absences can cause further delays.

I’m in crisis, or my friend/family member is in crisis – what do I do?

We are unable to provide out-of-hours or crisis support. If you require urgent help, please contact your GP or local mental health services, and follow NHS the advice on Where to get urgent help for mental health.

Can you recommend therapists or clinics closer to where I live?

We advise people who are looking for a therapist closer to home to look on the British Association for Behavioural and Cognitive Psychotherapy website www.babcp.com and click on Find a Therapist where you can access a database of BABCP accredited CBT therapists.

On some occasions, after assessment with our service, our recommendation may be for you to start or continue working with your local NHS psychology team. In this case we may provide supervision or consultation to the member of staff you work with as required.

I have another question – who do I contact?

If you have would like to ask a question that is not answered here, then please email ohspic@oxfordhealth.nhs.uk. We will do our best to respond promptly but please bear with us, at busy times it may take a few days for us to get back to you.

Is OHSPIC part of the HSS pathway?

OHSPIC is not part of the NHS England Highly Specialist Service (HSS) pathway. For further details on how to access HSS, OCD-UK provide a useful summary of Accessing NHS Treatment in England and NHS Specialist OCD/BDD Treatment.

Page last reviewed: 14 February, 2024