Case Study, News

Case Study: How a SilverCloud project saved Greater Manchester HSCP 29,070 hours of staff time

As part of our latest case study feature, the digital mental health provider SilverCloud has shared the outcomes of its work with Greater Manchester Health and Social Care Partnership (GMHSCP), which revolved around bridging the silos in mental health resource to meet increasing demand.

Comprised of 10 CCGs, NHS trusts, social care providers and voluntary bodies, GMHSCP saw that its Greater Manchester’s Improving Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT) programme was facing a number of acute challenges, brought about chiefly by the COVID-19 pandemic. These included cuts to staff resources, changes to delivery of care, and a move to phone-based therapy.

Against a backdrop of analysis by the Royal College of Psychiatrists, which showed that almost 400,000 children and young people and 2.2 million adults had sought mental health support during the pandemic (April 2021), as well as May 2021 figures from the Office for National Statistics that showed one in five (21 per cent) of adults experienced some form of depression in early 2021, the partnership decided to consider digital mental health therapies.

Greater Manchester selected SilverCloud to be its provider of these services, utilising the supplier’s ‘Space from COVID’ programme, which consists of a six-module online package that is designed to address the issues people have experienced due to the pandemic. Each module provides clinically-backed support for issues such as trouble sleeping, coping with stress, developing mindfulness, financial worries and experiencing grief and loss, and offers practical tools, tips and suggestions for managing mental health difficulties.

The programme was made available to everyone over the age of 16 within the organisations and CCGs comprising the Greater Manchester Health and Social Care partnership, and worked alongside pre-existing programmes which continued to support individuals if they required additional in-person therapy.

Deployed swiftly, the project – which would have typically taken 12 months to approve and implement, according to the IAPT system lead from the Great Manchester Health and Social Care Partnership – took just four weeks to successfully roll out.

Outcomes for patients and staff

Between 1 April 2020 and 31 January 2021, Space from COVID helped 12,700 people to achieve average recovery rates of 59 per cent, and a clinical significant improvement (CSI) rise from 54 per cent to 63 per cent, between 1 April 2020 and 1 March 2021.

Other patient outcomes included greater accessibility of treatment, decreases in wait times for face-to-face or phone appointments, and unlimited capacity of digital therapies. Meanwhile, the Greater Manchester Health and Social Care Partnership estimates that its psychological wellbeing practitioners have been made ‘three times more effective’ as a result of the programme, helping staff with prioritisation and allocation of resources. This is highlighted by 29,070 hours of therapist time being saved between 1 April 2020 and 31 January 2021.

Cost savings have also been considered. By using reference pricing and savings from NICE, GMHSCP has identified that, during a 12-month period, the net cost saving to GM by SilverCloud will be a minimum of £2,234,137, while 29,070 hours of therapist time has been saved using SilverCloud.

Further stats on impact, provided by SilverCloud, show:

  • Waiting times improved over time with an 95 per cent 18-week target being met since March 2020 onwards, and the 80 per cent six-week target being met from August 2020 onwards.
  • The programme has equated to 7,597 extra patients seen in standard treatment or 18,795 using SilverCloud.
  • Patient satisfaction – the user satisfaction survey had 109,375 reviews in total and 1,839 patients who accessed COVID support programmes. The feedback shows 92 per cent of respondents found the programme supportive in making progress towards their goal, while 94 per cent of users found the modules interesting.

“I think it’s broken down into bite size chunks and is easier to understand, it’s not overwhelming and having videos to explain it rather than just reading it is more helpful to someone like me,” said one patient.

“The time management tool has been a real eye-opener and really helped me to prioritise things that are actually not important which I thought were. I am sure implementing this approach will help me in daily life,” added another testimonial.

Moving forwards

The key elements of the SilverCloud Space from COVID programme will remain in place in Greater Manchester, but there are also set to be further expansions into other areas of care across the Greater Manchester CCGs, with potential for take-up beyond the region.

The approach from this piece of work is also being used as a template for the development of new digital mental health therapy programmes, such as expanding the service into perinatal care and potentially also for long-term conditions like Long COVID, diabetes, respiratory, cardiac, and cancer.

As an independently commissioned report with Health Innovation Manchester noted, due to the programme’s ‘focus on preventing escalation and supporting individuals during times of crisis’ it is anticipated that many of the ‘core benefits’ relating to the sustainability of the investment will only be truly realised in the future.

To find out more about SilverCloud and its work, visit