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Workforce and training updates - October 2023

Read all the latest news from our Workforce and Training Lead, Professor Tony Lavender.

23 October 2023

Review of the BPS's accreditation criteria for clinical psychology programmes

A major review of the accreditation criteria has been undertaken - the first phase of stakeholder consultation has been completed and CTCP is in the process of considering the large and detailed number of responses received.

A consensus about a number of issues has emerged, and there will be feedback arranged to inform key stakeholders about these areas in November. There is an enormous amount of very detailed comments to take into account and a need for further EbE consultation which means the work will take some time.

The sense is that it is better to take the time to consider things properly rather than rush to a less considered conclusion. Once this work is completed, a document will be produced which will go to the final general consultation phase.

Retendering in Wales and Scotland

Following the successful retendering of clinical programmes in England, a retendering of the clinical psychology programmes in Scotland has been completed and one is underway in Wales. We will be supporting colleagues in training during these processes.

Job planning guidelines

The guidelines on job planning in health and social care should be published in October, following the taking on board of comments from members and UNITE made during the consultation. We are grateful for these thoughtful comments and will make available a document explaining how each comment was taken into account.

Wellbeing hubs

There has continued to be a significant piece of work with the BPS media team around NHS staff mental health and wellbeing hubs that have been set up in England. There were 40 hubs (led by practitioner psychologists) set up by NHSE as pilots, and the independent evaluations of their work has proved very positive.

A belated announcement of £2.3 million (actual cost of hubs £40 million) funding by NHSE was announced, but this came too late to save many of the hubs. It was intended by NHSE that the ICB/ICS pick up the funding, but they were given late notice and have simply not been ready to take on the responsibility.

The DCP and BPS have continued to support the surviving Hubs as part of a long-term campaign (in the media and with ministers) to take NHS staff wellbeing, in particular with regard to mental health, seriously. The campaign will turn to lobbying for the parties to put a commitment to staff wellbeing in their manifestos.

Survey of psychologists in physical healthcare settings

The survey of psychologists working in physical healthcare settings has been completed. The results are currently being written up and are proving very interesting. There has been a 50 per cent increase in numbers since 2016 and more are being directly employed by acute care NHS trusts in England rather than under sub-contract arrangements with mental health trusts. The document should be out for consultation October.

Guidance on the employment of psychologists in physical healthcare settings

This guidance document will be out for consultation in October, and will provide advice about the major governance issues to consider when employing psychologists in these settings.

Some evidence came to light from the workforce survey above of junior lone practitioners in healthcare settings. It is very important that we find a way to ensure appropriate governance structures, particularly supervision, are in place to prevent these arrangements arising.

NHS retention

We have established a small working group to look at the issue of the retention of clinical psychologists in the NHS. We know that a high percentage of trainees (96-97 per cent) take first jobs in the NHS, but the data after this period is now rather dated.

This is clearly an important issue both for the NHS and profession. If anyone has any data, please get in contact with me by email.

HCPC and BPS working group

Tony Lavender (working group chair) and Nigel Atter (BPS staff) have continued to meet with the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) and the Professional Standards Authority (PSA) throughout the year.

They have written a blog update which can be accessed on the BPS website. The re-registration process has proved very successful, and over 97 per cent reregistered by the May deadline.They appear also to have achieved a significant improvement in the recording of demographic information about registrants.

We have agreement to provide induction sessions to HCPC staff to familiarise with the training and working contexts of each type of practitioner psychologist. A joint BPS/HCPC webinar on supervision has now taken place.

We will also be providing a webinar for international applicants in conjunction with the HCPC to provide contextual information about working in the health and social care sectors, and providing an understanding of UK-based training.

Finally, the HCPC has launched a free service to support registrants going through fitness to practise.

New NHSE outcome measure guidance for community mental health settings

The implementation guidance on patient reported outcome measures (PROMs) for people with severe mental illness in community mental health settings is now available. It is available via NHS Futures and NCCMH's website.

The guidance has been developed by the National Collaborating Centre for Mental Health (NCCMH), with the input of a wide range of stakeholders including clinical, service, VCSE and lived experience representatives, and PROMs developers.

The guidance builds on previous task and finish group recommendations released by NHSE in 2022, and sets out:

  • The case for outcome measurement
  • The rationale for GBO, ReQoL-10 and DIALOG
  • How and when PROMs can be used, including importance of patient choice, equality considerations and example service user pathways
  • How PROMs can be used effectively in practice, including considerations for infrastructure, training, and communications

The guidance is designed to support systems to implement the recommended PROMs. The adult mental health team at NHS England also plan to hold a webinar on the guidance and will continue to share case studies of system implementation in coming months.

New national curriculum for training mental health professionals seeking 'approved clinician' status

NHS England's Directorate for Workforce, Training and Education, formerly Health Education England, has published a new national curriculum for training programmes aimed at developing relevant competencies for mental health professionals intending to apply for 'approved clinician' status via the portfolio route.

The new national curriculum for training mental health professionals seeking 'approved clinician' status is available online.

The new curriculum:

  • brings standardisation to the academic training,
  • emphasises the vital role of equality, diversity and inclusion in AC training
  • seeks to ensure that experts-by-experience participate in the design and delivery of programmes
  • signposts to the wider system support needed, primarily from the trainee AC's employer

The guidance for seeking approved clinician status via the portfolio route (DHSC, October 2017) and multi-professional approved/responsible clinicians implementation guide provide further important information.

The curriculum will be the basis for future procurement of a standardised training course, for delivery from Autumn 2024, to support the preparation of individuals to undertake AC responsibilities and develop the required AC portfolio in order to gain AC status.

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