Nurse meeting with psychologist
Government and politics, Health, Work and occupational

BPS and ACP-UK join forces to protect funding of mental health and wellbeing lifeline for NHS staff

The British Psychological Society (BPS) and Association of Clinical Psychologists UK (ACP-UK) have joined forces to protect the funding of NHS Staff Mental Health and Wellbeing Hubs.

15 December 2022

The organisations are together urging the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, Rt Hon Steve Barclay MP, to protect the funding of the Hubs, which provide vital support for a workforce in crisis.

With national funding for the Hubs under review, and the expectation that commissioning will shift to Integrated Care Boards (ICBs) in the future, the BPS and ACP-UK are urging continued, ring-fenced funding, to support the People Plan for the NHS workforce, and the wellbeing of social care professionals. 

In a letter to the health secretary, the organisations have highlighted evidence showing how the Hubs help improve the health and wellbeing of NHS staff, helping to address the staffing crisis by preventing sickness absences, and even preventing staff leaving their jobs. With the well-documented staffing crisis in the NHS, the BPS and ACP-UK have underlined how vital it is to protect the services provided by the Hubs, at a time when this essential support is needed the most.

While recognising the economic challenges facing the UK, as we enter the most difficult winter in the history of the NHS, the BPS and ACP-UK are warning of an immediate cost in human, financial and ethical terms if funding is reduced or stopped.

Designed to engage the entire health and social care workforce, including groups such as porters, cleaners, ambulance and catering staff, the small, expert Hub teams work collaboratively across health and care services, providing access to help for vulnerable staff members and maximising support for leaders, teams and services.

The BPS and ACP-UK are saying continuing funding for the Hubs would extend the services’ reach, enabling them to support more staff through reducing sickness and turnover and increasing retention at a time when mental health and wellbeing support is crucial.

The Staff Mental Health and Wellbeing Hubs offer a high level of expertise in assessing the needs of NHS and social care colleagues and providing a range of evidence-based interventions to sustain wellbeing.

The need for the ongoing provision and development of the Hubs is stark: 

  • A study with over 2500 NHS staff suggested that nearly half (46%) of NHS key workers reported clinically significant levels of either anxiety, depression or post-traumatic stress.
  • Colleagues are referring into the Hubs in states of mental distress, requiring expert clinical care. Clinical staff working in Mental Health and Wellbeing Hubs can offer tailored support to individuals reporting moderate to severe mental distress.
  • Worryingly, BPS and ACP-UK members report seeing some staff who are suicidal and much of their clinical skill is devoted to avoiding crisis and loss of life.
  • The services are helping staff who are traumatised, burnt out, highly stressed, and disillusioned with their work.
  • The Hubs are supporting health and care services as a whole, with some BPS and ACP-UK members reporting that staff at all levels have referred into the Hubs, and feel able to do so due to the independent nature of the service and level of expertise on offer.