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Scotland makes digital therapeutics for anxiety and insomnia available nationally

The Scottish Government has announced a new programme to introduce digital therapeutics for anxiety and insomnia available for free, nationally.

All Scottish adults will now have access to Daylight and Sleepio by Big Health, which will be providing the opportunity for more than five million people in the nation to access cognitive behavioural therapy.

Having initially made the products available across five NHS Health Board Areas in October 2020, the Scottish Government has now extended the online therapy service across all 14 NHS Scotland Health Board Areas. Available 24-hours-a-day, seven days a week, the digital solutions will be included as part of people’s NHS services and are free for end users.

Access to care will be effectively scaled through the Computerised CBT (cCBT) & Digital Mental Health programme and patients can sign up for the solutions via either a self-referral or by visiting their GP.

Currently, Big Health’s digital therapeutics are also available in England through the NHS but only in two regions – North Hampshire and the Thames Valley.

Mental Wellbeing and Social Care Minister, Kevin Stewart, said: “Digital technologies have massive potential to help people manage and support their mental health in a way that feels right for them. We are working with NHS Scotland to combine traditional in-person services with technology enabled solutions, allowing us to reach people with the right treatment at the right time.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has only affirmed what we knew from the beginning – digital mental health is critical to help scale much-needed services and provide additional choice for people to manage their mental health. After assessing the effectiveness of Daylight and Sleepio, we are pleased to launch these treatments nationwide, providing clinically validated solutions for those who need it most.”

Earlier this year, as HTN reported, Scotland also set out its national digital strategy. Jointly owned by local and national government, the document is intended to deliver a “refreshed Digital Strategy for Scotland” and a “shared vision of a modern, digital and collaborative government, designed around people”.

Its aims include introducing inclusive, ethical and resilient products and services, with outcomes focused on a user perspective, as well as seeking out new opportunities to explore how new technology can improve overall outcomes for people living in Scotland.