Over the past 12 months and more, Health Education England (HEE) have been developing a framework for Advanced Clinical Practice (ACP). There is a focus on having a more consistent approach to this work which is defined by enabling practitioners work at what’s been described as ‘the top of their licence’. This can include additional training to do things that may have been done by other professionals. Much of the work has developed from the acute physical health sector and has focused on nurses and allied health professions.
More recently, the consultant framework is currently being developed – again to have a more consistent approach as to what this means across the different professional groups. Again, while this work has developed out of work with Allied Health Professionals and nurses, recent conversations have included pharmacists, health care scientists and HEE would like to include the psychological professions too.
The frameworks so far include four to five pillars or domains of practice and for ACPs the level of competency is expected to be at Masters level. For the consultant framework, the competency level is expected to be at PhD or professional doctorate level. The four pillars for ACP are clinical practice, Leadership and Management, Education, Research. For the current draft consultant framework, the five pillars are: Values Based Health/Care Practice, Strategic & Facilitative Leadership, Education for learning, developing and improving in the workplace, developing and transforming the workforce, Research, development, improvement and information, and cutting across all of these is: Consultancy in all pillars across systems.
So what does this mean for our professional group? It is still early days and as part of the work we are doing with HEE is to map this out and engage with you to see how this could work for us. Some of the challenges include: the ACP framework is only open to registered professionals so how do we include counsellors, CBTs, PWPs and others? Practitioner psychologists already have doctorates so how does the consultant framework apply? How does this support career development for all our psychological professions?
We can develop answers to these questions and we need to consider where this framework might work and where it might not. For example, it may be helpful in developing more senior roles for counsellors, CBTs, PWPs and others. It may help practitioner psychologists develop a pathway to consultant.
One thing that it is important to remember is that this is not about banding and salaries. Also, it is not an attempt by the back door to make us all the same as each other. Therefore, it will be really important to have input from all psychological professions on how this could work.
So what can you do? Read and reflect on the proposals, discuss with colleagues and get ready to feed your comments into our work. We are in the process of developing a way of getting your feedback. You can also sign up to the virtual reference group via the link below. There is more information on the ACP framework there too.
Gita Bhutani, Chair of North West PPN
Adrian Whittington, Chair of PPN KSS