A survey of GPs has shown they are struggling to help patients with depression access the psychological help they need within two months of referral.
The Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP) said only 15 per cent of GPs can routinely get psychological therapy for adults who need it within this timeframe, with this figure dropping to just six per cent for children.
As a result, a number of medical sector bodies have called on political parties to make a guarantee in their general election manifestos to offer evidence-based psychological therapies to all who need them within 28 days of requesting referral.
RCGP chairman Professor Steve Field said there remains "a long way to go" towards addressing this issue, despite the progress made in recent years.
Paul Farmer, chief executive of mental health charity Mind, added: "When someone is assessed as being in need of counselling or cognitive behavioural therapy, it is crucial that they can start treatment as soon as possible."See all the latest jobs in Medical Devices