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Our response to the mental health workforce plan for England

31 July 2017

The British Psychological Society welcomes the commitment by the NHS to improving mental health provision in England, however, there are gaps in the strategy and further considerations are needed.

There needs to be more of a commitment to prevention. Currently people are having to wait until they are in crisis before they receive care, and although prevention is mentioned there is no suggestion of how this will be achieved in real terms. Effective, evidence based, psychologically informed prevention strategies will mean that fewer people will need to access the crisis care which is currently so oversubscribed.

Although 'Improving Access to Psychological Therapies' (IAPT) has improved the access to psychological therapies, the BPS believes care should be person centred; meaning there should be a range of evidenced based psychological interventions available so that individuals can choose the most suitable for them. The investment in psychologists and the psychological workforce should be across NHS services, including to support physical health care and NHS staff wellbeing.

There is little mention of the importance of clinical supervision by an experienced, qualified psychologist for the wider psychological workforce and multi-disciplinary teams in order to ensure the highest level of care as well as the ongoing wellbeing of staff.

BPS President Nicola Gale said, 'The British Psychological Society will continue to work with Health Education England and other stakeholders to achieve a substantial increase in the psychology workforce to deliver greater access to psychological healthcare across the range of services to meet individual, family and community need'.

Read a further response from the BPS Division of Clinical Psychology.

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