Whether you’re a practitioner or an academic, an experienced psychologist or just starting out on your journey, I’m confident that you’ll find real value in the line-up which we’ve assembled around the theme ‘The psychological impact of inequality’.
I am particularly excited about Professor Kate Pickett and Professor Richard Wilkinson. Their work to champion justice and equality in society has given us two bestselling books, The Spirit Level and The Inner Level, and their work is as important now as it ever has been as we try to solve the deep inequalities which still exist in our world.
We are also very happy to welcome Sir Mark Walport, chief executive of UK Research and Innovation, to our annual conference. Sir Mark will be telling us about his work developing this new body to work in partnership with universities and other institutions to create the best possible environment for research to flourish.
This is an area where the BPS is doing a lot of work, and it was fantastic to learn recently that three very important recommendations which we made regarding the 2021 Research Excellence Framework (REF) exercise have been accepted by the psychology, psychiatry and neuroscience sub-panel.
In particular, we pushed for a qualitative methods expert to be appointed, and are delighted that the sub-panel agreed, meaning that the vital qualitative research which is being undertaken in psychology departments across the country will be treated with the respect that it deserves.
This isn’t the only area where we have been having an impact recently. A recent Health Education England report highlighted the psychological needs of NHS staff and learners, in line with the evidence we gave to the commission. I am hopeful that the report will lead to more support given to hard-working NHS staff who operate in a high-stress and target-driven environment.
We will continue to fight for a similarly positive outcome with regards to the proposed hike in HCPC registration fees. I was extremely disappointed to learn that the HCPC recently voted to press ahead with their plans, despite the overwhelming opposition that emerged during the consultation process.
Practitioner psychologists really do make a difference to the lives of countless people in the UK, and for them to be hit by this at a time when wages are stagnating would be unfair and unjustified. We should be doing all that we can to encourage more talented people to become psychologists, not putting up barriers with arbitrary fee rises.
It’d be great to see as many of you as possible in Harrogate in May where we can continue the conversation about how the BPS can support both our academic and our practitioner members, and find out what we can do, and are already doing, to tackle inequality in our society.
Chief Executive Officer