From the Chief Executive, September 2019

The latest from Sarb Bajwa.

Published in January, the NHS Long Term Plan is the blueprint for the future of our health service, and sets out a welcome ambition to rapidly expand access to psychological treatments.

This is needed to meet a clear demand in society for better access to psychological therapies.

We are keen to play our part in turning the plan’s vision into a reality, but we recognise that it will require commitment at every level of government and across the NHS.

A plan is only as good as its delivery, and ultimately patients need to feel the benefits of more coordinated and better care from a health and social care workforce which is more psychologically informed.

That’s why we’ve joined with other professional bodies to call for the creation of a Chief Psychological Professions Officer within NHS England, which would bring the psychological workforce in line with other professions such as medicine and nursing.

A Chief Officer would provide a crucial link between professional bodies such as ourselves and the people tasked with implementing policy and delivering the plan.

They would also work with members of the psychological workforce who are in leadership positions at all levels of the NHS, and ensure that psychological approaches become ingrained at local, regional and national level.

With a welcome drive towards parity of esteem for mental health, and an unprecedented expansion of access to psychological treatments, the CPPO is needed to lead this expansion and make sure that service users, professional bodies and policy makers are all moving in the same direction.

Further changes to the landscape for the psychological professions are ongoing, with the emergence of new roles including Clinical Associates in Psychology and Education Mental Health Practitioners.

We’ve contributed to the development of apprenticeship standards for some of these roles, and will evolve our offer as an organisation to support the people who enter the workforce over the coming years.

Whether you work in the NHS or not, we all share an interest in the future of our health service, and I would be keen to hear from any members with a view on the CPPO role and the future of the psychological workforce.

Sarb Bajwa is Chief Executive of the British Psychological Society.
Contact him at [email protected]

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