I would like to congratulate the BPS for establishing the Psychological Wellbeing Practitioner (PWP) role and accrediting it through the Institute for Apprenticeships and Technical Education as a level 6/7 qualification. During the course of my career I have felt that psychology as a profession has unfortunately become increasingly elitist and hierarchical and that this has often constituted a significant barrier for people accessing effective psychosocial interventions.
It is rare to find a professional representative organisation which prioritises the interests of society above those of its more senior members. Often professional representative bodies seek to protect practice and demarcate boundaries of competence in a restrictive way, frequently resulting in reduced access to services. The PWP initiative provides competent practitioners who will increase access to services, because they can be provided at a lower cost. For those who recognise that access to psychological services is a right and that resources are finite, this is a very good thing.
As a member working outside the UK, it is refreshing (especially in these Brexit times) to be able to point to a model of practice where the BPS is leading innovation that is necessary, urgent and evidence-informed. I very much hope that this model of practice will be more widely adopted throughout Europe and globally, building on the well-established principles of task sharing and task shifting, which psychologists should be embracing as key elements in job design and service provision.
Clinical Lead for Disability Services, HSE (Irish Health Service) & Professor of Psychology & Social Inclusion, Maynooth University, Ireland
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