NHS Specialist OCD Treatment Services

This article was first published in the OCD-UK members magazine (December 2017), and published online June 2018.

Did you know that specialist OCD treatment is freely available through the NHS?

We were recently asked about how the different specialist clinics differ, so in December 2017 we reached out to each service to clarify, and we attempt to summarise each clinic here and explain how patients can be referred.

ADULTS – England

On this pages are lists of the NHS centres of excellence in the treatment of Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD).  All of these services offer treatment provided by experts in the treatment and research of OCD. The following is a summary of the services usually offered, although each service may offer slightly different treatment options not listed on these pages on an individual basis where appropriate for the patient.

An explanation of the HSS and CCG referral options will be listed further down this page.

Note: As of June 2018, the Centre for Specialist Psychological Treatments of Anxiety and Related Problems, based at the University of Bath is currently NOT accepting new patients following the departure of Professor Salkovskis.

ADULTS – Scotland

For patients in Wales and Northern Ireland you may be able to be referred to any of the above clinics in England or Scotland for treatment, but you would need the funding approval from your own local health boards.

For patients in Scotland you may be able to be referred to any of the above clinics in England for treatment, but you would need the funding approval from your own local NHS board.



How patients in England can access the specialist services.

For patients in England there are generally two routes to the specialist services:

  • Route 1 – Local CCG (Clinical Commissioning Group) funded
  • Route 2 – National HSS (Highly Specialised Service) funded
Each part of England will have its own Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) who are responsible for the funding of treatment for patients in their region. If local NHS treatment options have been explored without success, a patient can request treatment at one of the aforementioned specialist NHS services. There is no clinical criteria if the CCG fund the treatment. Initially the request to the CCG needs to be made by a health professional, a GP can make it, but ideally it will be supported or made by a local NHS mental health professional which recommends that the local CCG approve funding.

CCG’s will frequently say no, but this should not be accepted without challenging, which OCD-UK can assist with.

OCD-UK can help support anyone trying to get access to any of these specialist services.

Have you previously been successfully treated by one of these specialist units? Then why not share your story with OCD-UK, and help us inspire others to attempt to access specialist treatment.


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