Dr Adrian Whittington, National Lead for Psychological Professions and Chair, PPN South East
Many working in health and care are feeling exhausted, having weathered the first phase of the Covid response, often working very long hours in new and challenging conditions. Many psychological professionals have taken on additional work, adapted services and set up new ones for patients and staff during this time. So what might give us renewal and energy at this time, as the leaves turn and we enter our first Covid autumn and winter? I believe there are many reasons to be hopeful, and will focus on four of these here:
1. Covid has led to an increased recognition of the vital importance of psychological responses to physical illness.
This is a positive, but there is such untapped potential for the psychological professions to contribute more comprehensively to physical healthcare. The Psychological Professions Network has published a discussion paper to start a conversation about Maximising the Impact of Psychological Practice in Physical Healthcare. Please download and share our report here.
2. The Psychological Professions Network is expanding across England.
Health Education England will be funding Psychological Professions Leadership fellows to establish and Chair new networks in the Midlands, North East and Yorkshire, London, and the East of England. We are delighted to have appointed Sunny Kalsy-Lillico as Chair of the PPN Midlands, and Sarah Dexter-Smith as Chair of the PPN North East and Yorkshire. The Psychological Professions Networks have been recognised as a key regional resource for HEE and local workforce planning. Each PPN will be offering support to every Integrated Care System in reviewing workforce plans to maximise the potential contribution of psychological professions. As we make these moves to enhance leadership of the psychological professions at regional level, we have published a discussion paper on Leadership and Management in the Psychological Professions. We hope this will stimulate the development of leadership opportunities at all levels. Please download and share our report here.
3. Workforce planning for the psychological professions has been integrated into Health Education England's national workforce planning processes.
This may sound dry, but is a really important step in recognising that the psychological professions make a central contribution to mental health care and beyond. Health Education England's teams have been active in modelling the training requirements across the psychological professions to realise the expansion requirements of the NHS Long Term Plan. These models are being translated into bids as part of the current Spending Review process. We hope the final settlement will be positive for psychological healthcare.
4. We have a vision for the psychological professions in England
Psychological Professions into Action (PPIA) was a crowd sourced research exercise that gathered ideas from all interested in psychological healthcare to co-create a vision for the psychological professions. Our proposed vision is now complete, and is going through a formal governance process for publication by NHS England and Health Education England. In the meantime we plan to unveil the outputs of PPIA very soon, including at the forthcoming Psychological Professions Week (16th - 20th November), where we will have a series of open access webinars linked to the themes of the Vision.
Dates for your Diary: 16th - 20th November - Psychological Professions Week - a programme of virtual events linked to the vision for psychological professions in England. The PPN South East will also be hosting content based on or regional projects.
See @PPNEngland or www.ppn.nhs.uk for more details.