Go to main content
BPS News

BPS response to the mental health workforce plan for England

02 August 2017

Our Division of Clinical Psychology responds in more detail to the publication of the Health Education England’s Stepping Forward to 2020/21: Mental Health Workforce Plan for England

Dr Esther Cohen-Tovée, Chair of the BPS Division of Clinical Psychology, said:

“We welcome the plans to expand the mental health workforce to support services delivering the care and treatment that people with mental health difficulties need and want.  However there is already a crisis in mental health service provision due to unfilled vacancies and the insufficient numbers of trainees in professions such as psychiatry and mental health nursing. The plan needs to go further to address peoples’ needs much more quickly, otherwise there will be further unnecessary suffering and deaths.

We believe that Clinical Psychologists and other Applied Psychologists can and should play an important part. They have been architects of psychological healthcare and play key roles in multi-disciplinary teams, both through offering specialist psychological assessment and treatment and through helping these teams to deliver evidence based treatment and care based on psychological principles.

More psychologists will be needed if we are to deliver the ambitious plans for mental health to offer more talking therapies and psychological help earlier to both children and adults. Because as well as the importance of providing specialist psychological treatment it is essential to provide clinical supervision, training, and consultation to support safe practice in colleagues, and research to continue the advances in mental health needed to improve outcomes and wellbeing.

With psychiatry and mental health nursing facing major recruitment and retention challenges, more Clinical Psychologists could help to solve the crisis. Over recent years they have successfully taken up roles as Responsible Clinicians, with full responsibilities for care under the mental health act, a role formerly only open to psychiatrists. And most significantly of all Clinical Psychology continues to attract a very large number of applicants who want to make their career in mental health. Currently there are six applicants to every commissioned clinical psychology training place, in contrast to the challenges facing psychiatry and nursing training. A swift expansion of Clinical Psychology training places could bring in a new workforce very quickly as these trainees contribute significantly to service delivery during training."

Read the initial BPS response with comments from our President Nicola Gale.



Top of page